Christmas drink/drug drive warning after nearly 200 arrests in two weeks
ALMOST 200 people have already been arrested on suspicion of drink and drug driving in just two weeks - an increase of 44 on the same time last year.
PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd issued a stark warning ahead of one of the busiest weekends for Christmas celebrations that flouting the law will come with "a New Year court appearance".
"When we launched this year's policing operation, drivers were warned not to take any risks by drinking or taking drugs and driving," he said.
"It is frustrating and disappointing that 195 people have ignored our warnings. They now find themselves facing a New Year court appearance and a driving ban, which may have a huge impact on their life and that of their family."
The senior officer said it could be avoided by people making plans before they leave the house for a night out to make sure they get home safely by using public transport or booking a taxi, having a designated driver or by arranging a lift in advance.
"If you find yourself asking the question `I wonder if I'm ok to drive?', whether that’s after an evening out, or even the day after an evening out, the answer is: You are not.
"Do not take the risk. The consequences, as police officers and our emergency service colleagues witness first hand, can be catastrophic.
"Just one drink can impair your decision making. Just one drink can cause a collision. Just one drink could kill. So our message is very simple; Never, ever drink and drive."
Police are mounting vehicle checkpoints and carrying out random breath tests, with any driver or motorcyclist stopped by officers for any reason, including speeding or using a mobile phone, automatically breathalysed.
Those involved in a collision or suspected of having consumed alcohol or taken drugs will also be tested.
Mr Todd also urged drivers to "make extra effort to look out for pedestrians who may have been drinking, particularly in built up areas where they may suddenly step or fall into your path, or who may be walking along unlit rural roads during the hours of darkness".
"We all share the roads, so we all share the responsibility for road safety.
"Slow down. Never drive after drinking or taking drugs. Pay greater attention to your surroundings, and always wear your seatbelt. If everyone follows this advice, then together we can save lives on our roads."