ESSEX Police officers arrested 280 people on suspicion of drink or drug-driving or for failing to provide a specimen over the festive period.
And roads policing officers conducted 1,216 breath tests during December 2021, although other officers will also have conducted tests if they suspected someone was drink-driving.
This is a significant fall from the 403 arrested in December 2019 but even one person drink or drug-driving on Essex roads is unacceptable, says Inspector Matt Crow.
“While it looks as though our message is hitting home with many people, I am concerned that the number of motorists arrested on suspicion of drink-driving is slightly up on the year before.
“Sadly, some people still think it is OK to endanger not only their own safety but that of other road-users and pedestrians. One person driving while drunk or under the influence of drugs is one too many.
“Driving under the influence affects your ability and reaction times which, in turn, can cause crashes, sometimes with fatal results.
“And the consequences can be devastating for everyone involved and their wider circle of family and friends.”
Motorists who are arrested and convicted of drink or drug-driving offences can, in serious cases, face a jail term.
More usually, they may lose their driving licence, which could affect their ability to work and, if they lose their job, they might not be able to pay their bills, which in extreme instances, could lead to them losing their home.
Inspector Crow adds: “Some motorists still don’t realise they can be over the drink-drive limit the day after a night out or even that there is a drug-driving limit and you can test positive for drugs days after you last took them.
“So, we continue to work with the Safer Essex Roads Partnership to raise awareness of this and also to educate people, young and old, about the consequences of drink and drug-driving and to achieve zero road deaths and serious injuries by 2040.
“And we encourage all road-users to support us with this aspiration by becoming our Extra Eyes and reporting poor or dangerous driving by submitting dash-cam footage of any such incident to us via the SERP Extra Eyes webpage.
“We review footage of offences such as speeding, careless driving, going through red lights, contravening traffic signs and using mobile phones whilst driving.
“If the evidence indicates an offence has been committed, we can deal with it in several different ways, from offing the motorists a course to improve their driving standards, to issuing a fine or summonsing them to court.”
Between 00:01hrs on 1 December and 06:00hrs on 2 January 2022, 138 motorists were arrested on suspicion of drink-driving, 108 on suspicion of drug-driving and 34 for failure to provide a specimen.
The previous year, the figures were 118, 139 and 26, respectively. And in December 2019, we made 173 arrests on suspicion of drink-driving, 169 on suspicion of drug-driving and 61 for failing to provide a specimen.
If you have any information about a drink or drug driver please call 999 in an emergency.
Otherwise you can report it online at www.essex.police.uk or use the ‘Live Chat’ button to speak to an online operator between 7am and 11pm. Alternatively, you can ring 101.
You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously online or by calling 0800 555 111.