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Footage released as anti-drink and drug driving campaign is launched

The campaign aims to educate drivers of the dangers and penalties they could face by getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol or drugs.

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Footage released by Gloucestershire Constabulary shows the dangers of driving after taking prescription medication.

The harrowing footage is released as part of the summer anti-drink and drug driving campaign which will run across the county from today Monday, 22 August until next Monday, 29 August.

The footage was shot on a mobile phone by two members of the public travelling between Cirencester and Gloucester when a blue van caught their attention.

The driver of the van can be seen driving erratically, swerving onto the wrong side of the road around blind bends and narrowly missing oncoming vehicles.

The members of the public safely followed the driver, whilst updating police on their location.

Officers intercepted the driver shortly before the Air Balloon roundabout, where he was arrested on suspicion of driving whilst unfit through drugs.

The driver was found guilty and disqualified from driving for 12 months and ordered to pay £185 in fines and costs.

As shown by this example, motorists may not know that it’s against the law to drive with legal drugs in your body if it can impair how you drive.

The campaign, coordinated by Gloucestershire Constabulary alongside Gloucestershire County Council, Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service, and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, aims to educate drivers about the dangers and penalties they could face by getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol or drugs.

So far this year 420 people have been arrested for drink and drug driving. Of those, almost as many were arrested for taking illegal drugs and getting behind the wheel, as those under the influence of alcohol.

Drivers who combine alcohol and drugs are 23 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than sober drivers and police are looking to debunk a number of myths as most drivers are not aware of how long drink and drugs can stay in their bodies for.

Inspector Rachel Lynch-Warden from the Roads Policing Unit said: “We want to do everything we can to ensure the roads of Gloucestershire are as safe as possible.

“Motorists may not be aware of both the dangers and consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and we are hoping to raise awareness of this and catch those who ignore our advice.”

Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Chris Nelson said: “Recent media coverage paints a picture of Gloucestershire as a hotspot for drink and drug driving – but these figures really only tell part of the story.  

“My view is that a high number of arrests when compared to other forces, actually demonstrates how seriously our Constabulary takes its commitment to roads policing and tackling drink and drug drivers.

“I am grateful to the Constabulary and our partners in the Road Safety Partnership for helping us remind road users of their responsibility to drive safely this summer and beyond.”

Councillor Dave Norman, Cabinet Member for Road Safety at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “We know that driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can have devastating consequences.

“That’s why I’m asking drivers across the county not to drink or take drugs before driving this summer, to ensure we can keep everyone safe on our roads.”

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