More than 1,000 people have been arrested following an operational campaign targeting drink and drug driving in London, United Kingdom.
A statement by the Metropolitan Police on Monday said, “Throughout the month of December 2018, 1,005 people were arrested for driving whilst under the influence. Of the 1,005 arrested, 572 tested positive or refused to be breathalysed, 226 were arrested for a positive preliminary drug test and 207 people were arrested for being unfit to drive through drink or drugs. A total of 5,957 breath tests were carried out.
“Officers from the Met’s Roads and Transport Policing Command (RTPC), with support from borough police officers, carried out checks on motorists who may have been driving under the influence of drink and/or drugs, and therefore posed a huge risk to themselves, passengers, other road users and pedestrians.
“Whenever a driver was stopped for a moving traffic offence, involved in any road traffic collision, or was suspected of having been drinking or taking drugs, a breath test was administered or a sample of saliva was taken in accordance with the Met’s policy. The activity was supported by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and European TISPOL Christmas Drink and Drug Driving Campaign.”
The statement quoted Chief Superintendent Colin Wingrove, of the Roads and Transport Policing Command, as saying that, “It’s staggering that more than 1,000 drivers were reckless enough to drive a vehicle whilst under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, putting themselves, other road users and pedestrians at risk.
“Motorists driving while intoxicated or under the influence are not in proper control of their vehicle, increasing the risk of a serious collision and the devastating consequences this can have on the families and friends of the victims.
“I believe police officers have saved lives and prevented serious injuries during this seasonal campaign given the number of arrests made. We will continue, all year round, to check drivers who may be over the limit and administer breath and drugs tests when necessary. My message remains simple: do not drink, or take illegal drugs, and drive.”
Siwan Hayward, Director of Compliance and Policing at Transport for London (TfL), said, “There is absolutely no reason to drive while under the influence of drink or drugs. It is extremely selfish and can have devastating consequences for drivers, other road users and their families.
“Our message is clear, we won’t tolerate any careless, illegal or dangerous behaviour and through our ongoing work with the police, on operations like this drink and drug driving enforcement, we will take robust action against those that do.”
Data provided by TfL shows that between April 2016 and February 2018, there were 269 fatal or serious casualties resulting from drink or drug drive collisions. Of the 269 incidents, 217 were due to drink driving (ten of which were fatal); whilst 52 were down to drug driving (five of which were fatal).
December’s month of action was also in support of the Mayor and TfL’s ‘Vision Zero’, which aims to eliminate deaths and serious injuries from London’s transport network by 2041. As part of this approach, the RTPC has ramped up activity to deter and deal with illegal driving on London’s roads.
The statement concluded that, “This joint work between the Met and TfL is to deliver and sustain improvement in speed enforcement, focusing on the most dangerous drivers and offences that put road users at risk.”