Throughout December officers from the Roads Policing Unit will be targeting motorists who they suspect are impaired.
In a bid to drive down fatal and serious road traffic collisions, officers will also be requesting roadside breath tests from all drivers who commit a moving road traffic offence, irrespective of whether or not they suspect a drink driving offence.
Drug-wipe sample kits will be used on drivers suspected of being unfit to drive through drugs, which provide an instant roadside indication before the driver is taken to custody to provide a blood sample for further analysis.
Officers will also be carrying out intelligence-led fixed site checks, as well as engaging with motorists on the risks of getting behind the wheel after a drink or taking drugs.
Last year’s campaign saw more than 460 vehicles stopped and 225 people arrested for being impaired.
Head of the Roads Policing Unit, Chief Inspector Craig West said: ‘The harm caused by driving whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs cannot be underestimated and it is a completely avoidable offence.
‘Drink and drug-driving is known to be one of the four most common causes of a serious collision alongside not wearing a seatbelt, using a mobile phone or other device at the wheel, and speeding. While only a very small minority of motorists commit offences of this nature, the consequences can be life-changing for all involved.’
Kent County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, David Brazier, said: ‘We know that getting behind the wheel of a vehicle when you are not fit to do so can have tragic consequences.
‘I would take this opportunity to encourage people not to drink or take drugs when they are planning on driving at any time of year.
‘The safety of everyone on our roads is a top priority and we need motorists to be responsible in order to prevent future tragedies.’
Cllr Phil Filmer, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Frontline Services, said: ‘Although we are all excited to safely spend the festive period with our friends and family this year, there is never an excuse for drink or drug-driving.
‘Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can have a devastating impact on a number of people’s lives. I would encourage residents to act responsibly and help us reduce the number of incidents on our roads. This festive season please be responsible and make the right choice – don’t drink and drive, it is simply not worth the risk.’
Throughout the year we would urge people to plan ahead before a night out. If you are intending to drink then keep some money aside for a taxi home or nominate a driver in your group of friends who will not drink at all. Also remember that alcohol can stay in your system the morning after a night out. It is just not worth the risk of getting behind the wheel of a vehicle when you have alcohol in your system.
Our message is that there is no safe amount of alcohol to have when driving, so if you plan to have an alcoholic drink you should make alternative arrangements to get home.
Drivers risk up to six months’ imprisonment, an unlimited fine and a substantial driving ban if they are caught driving whilst above the legal limit.
Anyone who causes a death while drink or drug-driving faces up to 14 years’ imprisonment.