Police in West Yorkshire have urged people not to take the risk as part of a national summer drink and drug driving campaign.
They are reminding local people that over the past five years, there have been 45 fatalities on the county’s roads involving at least one driver found to be under the influence of drink or drugs.
From April 2015 to March 2016, there were 2,246 arrests, with 1,762 charges for drink driving offences, compared to 2,111 arrests and 1,659 charges the previous year. There were 185 arrests and 111 charges for drug driving in the same period, compared to 47 arrests and 27 charges the year before.
Inspector Joanne Field, who leads West Yorkshire Police’s Roads Policing Unit, said: “Driving while under the influence of drink or drugs is always a significant danger, but as summer gets into full swing, barbecues and parties – often at the homes of friends and family – become more popular and so can the temptation to drive to and from such events.
“A spur of the minute decision to get behind the wheel can have devastating consequences. The 2016 campaign is about hammering home the message that on a daily basis people across West Yorkshire are risking theirs and other people’s lives and that drink or drug driving have extremely serious consequences.
“You might not even know you’re over the limit. It takes time for alcohol to leave your system so it’s quite possible that if you’ve been drinking into the early hours and are driving later that morning, such as going to work or shopping or visiting a friend, you could well still be over the limit. If you are at all in doubt then don’t drive – it’s not worth the risk and you will have to live with the consequences for the rest of your life.”
Anyone convicted for driving while under the influence will receive a criminal record along with a driving ban of at least a year and a fine of up to £5,000.
Inspector Field added: “The effect of a conviction can be life destroying. In my time as an officer, I have seen people lose their job, career and relationships. If you’re going out to drink any amount please leave your car keys at home. It’s simply not worth the risk.”
She added that the introduction of roadside saliva tests have made it easier to test for drugs like cannabis and cocaine. She said the limits were set very low and again, the penalties were high.
Meanwhile, police in North Yorkshire made 69 arrests in the first two weeks of their campaign.
Of the 69 arrests, nine people were more than two-and a-half times the legal limit, with one woman registering readings of more than four times the legal limit.
Of the 22 arrests for drug driving, 17 were from the sort of tests mentioned by Inspector Field.