TOUGHER new sentences for drink and drug drivers have been welcomed by police in Warwickshire, as the national summer anti drink and drug driving operation gets underway.
The maximum penalty has increased from 14 years to life imprisonment for drivers convicted of causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs in England and Wales and Scotland.
The minimum period of disqualification for offenders convicted has also increased from two to five years and for those convicted of a repeat offence, the minimum period of disqualification has increased from three years to six years.
Chair of Warwickshire Road Safety Partnership, Philip Seccombe, said: “These new sentences reflect the seriousness of these offences and the far-reaching consequences for the victim’s family who will never get their loved one back.
Whilst good drivers would never drink and drive, some drivers need to understand the serious penalties such as life imprisonment they could face to help persuade them it’s not worth the risk.
“The Road Safety Partnership has an ambitious target to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on Warwickshire’s roads by 50 per cent by 2030. An important element of that will involve making it clear that there are extremely serious consequences for those that ignore the law on drinking and drug driving.
“That’s why this summer anti drink and drug driving campaign is important, with education alongside enforcement helping to achieve a change in attitude among a small section of drivers who still choose to get behind the wheel while under the influence.”
In 2019, 26 people were killed or seriously injured in collisions in Warwickshire where the driver was impaired by alcohol. Speeding was a factor in six of these collisions and four drivers had also taken drugs.
Sgt Shaun Bridle said “During the policing operation, officers including our Operational Patrol Unit, Special Constabulary and Safer Neighbourhood Teams will be conducting highly visible policing activity to detect drug and drink drivers.
This includes dedicated roadside checks and mobile patrols to reassure the public that action is being taken to remove impaired drivers from our roads to protect the vast majority of law abiding road users.
“All drivers that are involved in a collision will be asked to provide a road side breath test and drug swipe.
“We are asking the public to report the details of suspected drink or drug drivers to us and those arrested may also find their arrest featured online as we will be publicising anonymised details on social media throughout the campaign.”
And it’s not all about enforcement. Warwickshire Police will be raising awareness of the facts and dispelling myths around drink or drug driving on social media every day during the campaign.
Follow the campaign on social media at @WarksPolice and @WarksRoadSafety