Police reveal awful death toll of drink and drug driving as new Christmas campaign is launched
Twenty-three people have died and 154 have been seriously injured in collisions across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire over the last three years where alcohol has been listed as a contributory factor.
West Mercia Police, taking part in a national operation to remind motorists of the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, also says a further 12 people have been killed and 68 seriously injured in collisions where drugs have been involved.
The regional force that covers Shropshire say that enforcing the drink and drug drive law is a year-round commitment for them and takes place 24 hours a day, seven days a week to support the Safer West Mercia Plan.
A spokesperson said officers will be reminding motorists of the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in the run-up to Christmas.
"Whilst the vast majority of drivers do the right thing, across the three counties we arrested 156 people in the run-up to last Christmas for being over the limit whilst behind the wheel.
"The national police operation serves as reminder of the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and the consequences that this can lead to.
"There is no fool-proof way of calculating how much you can drink and remain under the limit, or knowing how much an individual person can drink and still drive safely. There is also no way of knowing how long certain drugs can stay in your system."
Superintendent Steph Brighton, for West Mercia Police, said: “It’s extremely frustrating that some motorists inexcusably still drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
"There is no foolproof way of calculating how much you can drink and remain under the limit, or knowing how much an individual person can drink and still drive safely.
"Any amount of alcohol can affect your ability to drive and there are numerous consequences of driving with alcohol in your system.
"Enforcement already takes place 24/7 across the whole of our area in order to detect those who are willing to take the risk and to protect other road users.
"We welcome national operations such as this to support the work that we do and hope that more people over the Christmas period choose a suitable alternative to alcohol if they are driving.”
PCC John Campion said: “It is a sad fact that too many people die or are seriously injured on our roads.
"As set out in my Safer West Mercia Plan, I remain committed to tackling the issue to make our roads safer. Since 2022, I have made an investment of £900,000 into West Mercia Police to make roads safer and I will continue to invest and support campaigns of this kind to make change.”
Local company Wenlock Spring is also supporting the operation with their 'The Only One for the Road' campaign, encouraging drivers not to risk even one alcoholic drink if they are driving.
Matthew Orme, director at Wenlock Spring, said: “We’re proud to have launched such an important campaign in conjunction with West Mercia Police and are pleased to see so many people get behind it. It’s very easy for people to get caught up in the festive spirit and overindulge, but we are urging motorists to not even risk having one alcoholic drink.
"Drivers should be able to go out and enjoy themselves, and they still can by drinking one of the many non-alcoholic drinks available to them. The most important thing is they and everyone else gets home safely at the end of the night.”
A number of local licensed premises across the three counties will be promoting ‘The Only One for the Road’ campaign displaying beermats and posters to raise awareness and also providing a wide selection of alcohol free options. Any businesses wishing to support the campaign and download one of the posters can visit the Wenlock Spring website
Officers are encouraging all licensed venues to get behind the messages this Christmas and help promote the vast amount of alcohol-free options that are available.