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Christmas safety drive launched

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The annual campaign against drink and drug driving has been started by police forces across the UK.

In a two-pronged drive to cut the traditional rise in drivers flaunting the law, officers will increase the number of breath tests and raise awareness of the inherent risks of driving while under the influence.

So called Field Impairment Tests - assessments of balance and co-ordination - will also form part of officers' methods of detecting drug use.

New radio and TV adverts will drive home the message that anyone caught drink or drug driving will be arrested and risks losing their licence. The dangers of driving while over the limit the morning after a night out will also be stressed in the Christmas THINK campaign.

Road safety minister Jim Fitzpatrick said: "Drink drivers are treated like any other criminal - they face giving blood and DNA samples and being locked in a police cell. They'll also get a minimum 12 months driving ban, criminal record and large fine."

Deputy Chief Constable Adam Briggs, Chair of ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) Roads Policing Operations Forum, added: "This year will see more roadside stop and check operations than ever before, at all times of day and night and on all types of road.

"Those caught could face a lengthy driving ban, imprisonment and could lose their job, home and livelihood.

"They will also have to live with the lifelong guilt of having killed or injured somebody through their reckless behaviour."

© Press Association 2008