WITH the Christmas season just weeks away, police across east Antrim are warning all road users, drivers and passengers that just one drink can kill.
Police and the Public Prosecution Service have also announced details of a unique pilot initiative, which will see drink drivers being fast-tracked to appear in court within days of being detected during the winter operation.
Assistant Chief Constable Alistair Finlay saidd: “I am particularly pleased that we are working in partnership with the Public Prosecution Service to ensure those detected drink driving will be fast-tracked through the courts, underlining the seriousness of this.
“This unique initiative will mean that we will be able to take dangerous drivers off the road with near immediate effect.
“During the winter drink drive operation last year, we detected 364 people who took the risk of killing or injuring themselves, their family, friends and other innocent road users by deciding to drive after drinking.
“This year, in addition to running targeted operations throughout the day and night, in the weeks leading up to Christmas and into the New Year, to catch drink drivers, we will again coordinate road safety operations across the border counties with colleagues from An Garda Síochána Traffic Corp.
“During 2010, drivers and riders who were ‘impaired by alcohol’ caused 72 serious collisions. These were collisions in which people were seriously injured, collisions which killed. These crashes are not accidents. People don’t accidentally have a drink, they make a conscious decision. The only right decision is to leave the car or motorbike at home if you’re drinking.
“I want all motorists to think about the consequences of being involved in a serious collision. How would you feel if your actions resulted in you or one of your family being paralysed? How would you feel if some innocent person was killed?
“We are particularly concerned that of the last five people to have died on our roads, four have been pedestrians, so we are also issuing an appeal for all pedestrians and road users to exercise caution.
“I do not want officers knocking on doors at any time of the year, but especially over Christmas, to tell families that a loved one has been killed on the roads.
“Drink and drive and at best, you are likely to be caught, arrested and brought before the courts. You will almost certainly lose your licence for one or more years, will be fined, and will have great difficulty in obtaining car insurance. You also risk losing your job or going to jail.
“If everyone slowed down, did not drive after drinking or taking drugs, wore a seatbelt and drove with greater care then together we can reduce this preventable carnage on our roads,” he said.