Essex Police are vigorous in their pursuit of drink drivers throughout the year but have significantly increased road checks in busy town centres, and in rural areas where some drivers often believe they can avoid being caught drunk at the wheel, in a campaign running from the 1st to the 30th June.
As well as standard breath tests officers will be testing drivers for drug use with roadside impairment tests, and will also be vigilant in their pursuit of people using the roads to commit other types of crime.
Everybody knows that drink driving costs lives, very often innocent lives. Yet many still choose to get behind the wheel of a potentially lethal weapon. From the habitual offenders arrogant enough to believe they are in control and beyond the law and won't get caught, to those who think 'just this once, I've not had much and I'm not going far', a drink driver is a drink driver, and as such is a criminal.
Conviction for drink driving can result in a criminal record, will certainly lead to the loss of a driving licence and as a consequence perhaps your job, friends and family life. Add to that the potential fine of up to £5,000, a lengthy prison sentence if your actions result in the death or injury of an innocent person, an most importantly, having to live with the consequences of your actions for the rest of your life, it begs the question... why, why on earth would anyone do it?
Encouragingly, the results of the first week of the campaign demonstrate that out of 227 people tested, 10 proved positive, all were over 25 years and 9 were male, with just 1 female. However, this is still ten too many, and could they have been stopped.
As a nation, whistle-blowing rarely sits comfortably on our shoulders, particularly if the person involved is a friend or family member. Is it worth risking the wrath of the drinker by doing all you can to prevent them getting behind the wheel? With friends and family, you can make a judgement call; it's rarely worth personal intervention if it's someone you don't know. But there are actions you can take.
Callers are not required to leave their name or any personal details, calls are not traced or recorded and those giving information do not have to give any police statements or go to court.
Our Police Force in Southend and across the county don't have the easiest time controlling crime on our streets and roads. Doing your bit to assist them is not about being a busy body, it's about taking care of your community, and perhaps saving an innocent life.