More than 100 arrests for drink or drug driving offences have been made during the first week of Kent Police’s annual road safety campaign.

Officers from the force’s Roads Policing Unit have been supporting the national initiative, aimed at reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured on the county’s roads.

It started on Friday 1 December 2023 and runs until 1 January 2024, with officers taking a pro-active approach to identify offending, which has so far resulted in a total of 116 people being arrested.

Officers have been 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.

As part of the week’s work so far, officers stopped a vehicle on 6 December in Gillingham, suspected of having several defects. The driver failed a drugs-wipe and following a search a knuckle duster was also found. He was arrested for several driving offences and has since been bailed.

On the same day, officers saw a man driving a van without a seatbelt on in Gillingham. He was stopped and also failed a roadside drugs-wipe. He was arrested for drug-driving and has been bailed.

On 8 December, officers were patrolling Folkestone when they saw a suspicious looking vehicle, but when they requested the driver to stop, she made off from patrols and after a short pursuit was brought to a stop. The driver failed a road-side drugs-wipe which came back positive for cocaine and following a search of the vehicle a large quantity of cocaine, cannabis and heroin was located. The woman has since been bailed.

Inspector David Crompton said:

‘We take a zero-tolerance approach to drink and drug driving at all times of the year, and this campaign helps to put the focus onto tackling this type of offending.

‘Driving under the influence of drink or drugs is a completely avoidable offence that places innocent members of the public in unnecessary danger.

‘It is known to be one of the four most common causes of a serious collision, alongside not wearing a seatbelt, using a mobile phone 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.’

Drivers risk up to six months’ imprisonment, an unlimited fine and a substantial driving ban if they are caught driving while above the legal limit.

Anyone who causes a death while drink or drug driving faces up to 14 years’ imprisonment.

By Ed

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