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Man being breathlised

Police: Europe-wide drink-drive push

Week-long police operation focuses drink-driving

TAKING a bit of festive cheer while you are still driving your van is never a good idea. But police are warning van drivers that getting behind the wheel while impaired by alcohol and or drugs really is not acceptable – Christmas or not.

This week, a seven-day police operation to enforce drink-driving and drug-driving legislation begins today across Europe (07 December). The operation is being co-ordinated by the European Traffic Police Network (TISPOL).

Chief Superintendent Pasi Kemppainen, chairman of TISPOL’s strategic alcohol and drugs working group, said: “Drink-driving is one of the biggest causes of death and serious injury on Europe’s roads. We are committed to rigorous enforcement, so that any driver who chooses to ignore the widespread education messages can expect to be caught and penalised.

“Our focus is also on drivers who have been taking drugs and who will fail to acknowledge the greatly increased risks they pose – to themselves and to other road users. As well as illegal drugs, many medicinal drugs can cause drowsiness and therefore impair driving, so it is very important that drivers taking medication should read the warnings or check with their healthcare professional. TISPOL continues to call for zero tolerance on driving with illicit drugs. This means that if you drive, having taken any illegal drug, impaired or not, you are committing an offence.”

A similar campaign in 2008 saw more than one million drivers breath-tested in 24 European countries during the seven-day operation. A total of 14,185 drink-driving offences and 939 drug-driving offences were detected.

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