Tackling drink and drug driving is a top priority for Cumbria Police this winter.

Cumbria Constabulary has launched a campaign to reduce the number of drink or drug related fatalities and offences on the roads.

Their message to drivers is to think before getting behind the wheel under the influence, risking their own lives and someone else’s.

The constabulary’s lead on intelligence; Operation Dreadnought identifies dangerous drivers across the county so that officers can look to stop those vehicles and check for any offences.

As well as being able to test for drink driving, officers can also conduct a roadside drugs test and a “fitness impairment” test to see if a driver is unfit to drive due to alcohol or drugs.

Mobile support group inspector Steve Minnikin said: “Anyone who drinks or takes drugs before getting behind the wheel has the potential to cause devastation.”

He issued a warning to anyone likely to commit a DUI offence.

“Our officers in Cumbria are better equipped now than ever before to catch those who are unfit through drugs – be it illegal or legal prescription drugs.

“There is no excuse that you didn’t realise you were still over the limit the morning afterwards.

"If you fail the alcohol or drug testing you will face the consequences."

Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall supported the campaign.

He said: “Drink or drug driving is a serious offence and is not taken lightly in Cumbria.

“It is incredibly frustrating that in spite of the warnings we are seeing an increase in the number of people being caught driving under the influence, in particular of drugs; this is dangerous, selfish and irresponsible.

“It is not just the perpetrator who may be injured but could cause the injury or death of innocent road users and no one wants that on their conscience.

“The festive period is a time for celebration and happiness.

"Although this year will be different due to Covid-19, no one wants to ruin this time of year by losing their licence or getting a criminal record for being over the legal limit."

Inspector Minnikin added: “Whilst our officers will always be on the look-out for those who get behind the wheel whilst impaired, there is also a great deal the people of Cumbria can do in support of this.”

Inspector Minnikin explained how the public can help Cumbria Police in their campaign: “Make sure your friends and family are aware of the dangers and the potential consequences. Don’t get into the car if you suspect someone has been drinking or is unfit through taking drugs.

“Please call the police if you suspect someone of drink or drug driving. Your call could save their life or the life of another innocent road user.”