Police start push to catch drink and drug drivers over Christmas period

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Police have launched a crackdown on drink and drug driving over the festive period.

From Friday, forces across England and Wales will run "intelligence-led" operations to target motorists who get behind the wheel under the influence.

The initiative will run from December 1 to New Year's Day inclusive.

During last year's Christmas campaign, police stopped more than 100,000 vehicles, with 5,698 breath tests that were positive, failed or refused.

These are cases where the driver is found to be over the legal limit by a breathalyser, refuses to give an officer a specimen of breath, or gives a specimen of breath but it is not sufficient to determine a result.

Anthony Bangham, National Police Chiefs Council lead for roads policing, said: "Every year police forces deal with cases of drink or drug driving that directly result in families facing Christmas without loved ones.

Drink-drive deaths
Police have launched a campaign to crack down on drink driving over the festive period (Philip Toscano/PA)

"Yet thousands of people still get behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs - so this year we are supporting forces who want to tell the personal stories of lives lost and families torn apart.

"Our recent operations have shown higher rates of detection for drugs and alcohol than in recent years, which means the scale of the problem is still a real concern.

"We remain committed to enforcing the law, which says that if you drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs you can face an unlimited fine, disqualification from driving and more than a decade in prison.

"Even a small amount of alcohol or drugs in your system can affect your ability to drive safely - don't let your friends and family pay the price."