CHESHIRE police are launching a two-pronged attack on dangerous drivers this festive season.
Patrols will not only be looking for those over the drink limit but will also be targeting drug-impaired drivers.
The county force is the first in the country to establish a specialist team with enhanced drug recognition skills.
The team consists of two officers, PC Andy Taylor and PC Robbie Burns, who, following specialist training with the California Highway Patrol, are now the region’s first fully qualified drug recognition experts.
Inspector Brian Rogers, who is in charge of road policing, said: “As part of our partnership approach to improving safety we are committed to a policy of education and enforcement.
“This is why it is so important that we work with our partners to let road users know that drug-driving is the evil twin of drink-driving.”
He added: “The penalties are the same, the punishment is the same and more importantly the death and destruction on Cheshire roads caused by drink and drugs, are the same.
“With our partners, we are committed to tackling drink and drug impaired driving and raising awareness of the growing problem.”
Cheshire police say that, last year, party-goers became complacent with the Christmas drink and drug-drive message, so they warn motorists this year they will be doubling their efforts.
Insp Rogers continued: “Alcohol strength has changed, often being a lot stronger than it used to be. Having the mindset that a couple of pints will be fine is completely wrong – it’s impossible to know how much is in your system.
“The best advice is not to drink any alcohol before driving this Christmas time. It is the only way to ensure you are not putting yourself and others at risk.
“Drink and drugs impair your judgement of speed and distance giving drivers less time to react to potential problems on the road.”
The campaign will comprise a cartoon-style animation to be shown in colleges, pubs, clubs and doctors’ waiting rooms and hospitals.
The animation has a link to website where further information can be obtained at: www.fittodrive.info