Traffic police warn of summer purge

Traffic police in Norfolk launched their summer clampdown on drink drivers yesterday - and warned they will also be focusing on young people who take drugs before getting behind the wheel.

Traffic police in Norfolk launched their summer clampdown on drink drivers yesterday - and warned they will also be focusing on young people who take drugs before getting behind the wheel.

In coming weeks, officers will be carrying out increased enforcement action across the county as the longer days and warmer temperature tempts more people to drive under the influence of alcohol.

The focus of the campaign will be a series of adverts on radio stations aimed at young people after road policing specialists noticed more youths ignoring the laws.

PC Michael Edney, casualty reduction officer, said traditionally older people had been most likely to be caught drink-driving but recent indications show young people are becoming complacent.

He said: “It used to be the case that the typical drink-driver was the middle-aged man coming home from the pub and young people tended to be more responsible. But we have seen a change in that profile.

“A lot of it is linked to binge drinking and, while in the past they would never have dreamt of driving, it is becoming more common with a new generation of drivers coming through.

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“Also there are some people who would not drink and drive but who would take drugs. The message is that being under the influence of any substance while driving is dangerous and will be taken seriously.”

Although the bulk of the police's awareness work will focus on young people, the enforcement action will not discriminate in terms of age and all motorists are being warned they could face a driving ban, a large fine and even jail if they are caught.

In last year's summer clampdown, more than 2,500 people were stopped and asked to carry out breath tests. Of these 113 were arrested and charged.

Mr Edney said: “The only really safe option is not to drink at all. That's the sensible way to avoid becoming another tragic statistic. You not only risk your life but those of other innocent road-users and the penalties are hefty.”

Norfolk police operates a drink-drive freephone hotline on 0800 835835 which enables concerned members of the public to report people they suspect are drinking and driving directly to police officers. People can also contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.