Almost 40 motorists in North Yorkshire were arrested on suspicion of drink driving during the first month of the current lockdown, despite no pubs or bars being open to drinkers.
Senior police and fire officers have issued a joint warning that those who drink at home are just as likely to kill someone if they get behind the wheel.
Between 4 January, when the current lockdown began, and 4 February, 39 motorists were arrested in connection with drink driving offences. This includes several who failed to provide a sample.
A further 51 have been arrested in connection with drug driving offences in the same period.
Superintendent Emma Aldred, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “I am truly shocked and astounded at the number of people found to be under the influence of alcohol despite pubs and bars being closed to drinkers under the lockdown rules.
“This is a stark reminder that having a few alcoholic drinks at home could lead you to still being over the limit the following morning and being unfit to drive.
“It genuinely is not worth running the risk of causing harm to yourself and others and positive action will be taken against those found committing these offences.
“Drinking at home can mean you easily lose track of how much you have had, there are no measures or as much cost to drinking from home which is clearly appealing to most.
“Either way, the consequences are the same. You’re just as likely to be arrested, charged and end up with a driving ban and criminal record. And you’re just as likely kill someone if you crash.
“There are no excuses, no second chances. It’s that simple.”
North Yorkshire Police runs several operations and campaigns every year to focus on drink and drug driving.
There are some signs of progress – the number of people arrested for drink driving in recent years has fallen from 1,000 in 2016 to 871 in 2020.
However, during 2020, emergency services in North Yorkshire dealt with a number of fatal and serious-injury collisions where drivers provided samples that were over the alcohol limit.
And in December alone, they dealt with 29 collisions where a driver was arrested on drink or drug driving offences.
Group Manager Dave Winspear, from North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Every year, we as a fire service, see the consequences of drink driving at incidents we attend.
“The impact it has is not only be on those involved but also on the emergency services who are called to assist.
“Please don’t be tempted to have a few drinks at home and then get behind the wheel, and remember that you can still be over the limit the following morning.”
>> If you know someone who drink or drug drives, you can report it to North Yorkshire Police by calling 101 and selecting option 1. If it’s in progress, call 999.Posted on in News stories