Shock rise in drink-drive deaths

ALCOHOL and drugs contribute to nearly a quarter of all fatal road crashes in the county, figures revealed today.

The shocking statistic comes as Suffolk police launch a month-long drink-drive and drug-drive enforcement campaign.

Alcohol or drugs were identified as a contributing factor in 10 of the 42 fatal road traffic collisions in Suffolk in 2009.

The figure represents a 5% increase on the previous year.

The force has warned that there are too many drivers continuing to break the law – with serious and often fatal consequences.

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In response, officers will step up roadside checks and breath-test anyone involved in a collision, however minor, in a bid to crack down on anyone flouting the law.

Chief Inspector Adrian Dawson said: “Suffolk Constabulary is committed to tackling drink and drug- driving and we are warning those who think they can break the law that they are more likely than ever to get caught. The percentage of road traffic collisions where alcohol or drugs was a contributing factor speaks for itself.

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“Those offending need to realise that they not just putting themselves at risk but other innocent road users as well. This is a very serious issue and can have severe consequences.

“By drinking or taking drugs and driving you could lose your licence, your livelihood and ruin your life. Your actions can also ruin the lives of others, by causing serious injury or even killing an innocent road user or pedestrian.”

Those caught drink-driving or driving under the influence of drugs could receive a court conviction, a driving ban of at least 12 months, a criminal record and an endorsement of their driving licence for 11 years.

They may also be liable to a fine of up to �5,000 and could face a prison sentence of up to ten years.

Chief Inspector Dawson added: “The message is simple: be sensible, be safe, and arrange a lift home, or appoint a designated driver. If you are going on a night out, remember to book a cab, choose a nominated driver or, if you are at a friend’s house, stay over for the night.

“We are also appealing for members of the public to tell us about people who flout the law in this way. If you know of someone who is drink or drug-driving, then please call the police. They are a danger to themselves, to you, your family and others, and they should be stopped.”

Anyone who suspects someone they know of drink or drug-driving is asked to report them immediately to police on 01473 613500.

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