A CRACKDOWN on motorists who get behind the wheel while under the influence of drink or drugs is set to step up - after road safety bosses revealed dozens of Barnsley residents have been killed or seriously injured in collisions attributed to being over the legal limit.
Officers this week vowed to carry out spot checks on drivers, after South Yorkshire Police committed to carrying more testing kits to detect drugs in particular.
For two weeks, additional officers have been drafted in to focus on stopping drivers, carry out more roadside breath tests and drug wipes.
Sergeant Martyn Micklethwaite said: “Driving while over the limit or under the influence affects your judgement and reaction time, this includes recreational drugs as well as prescribed drugs, and although our tests do not check for prescribed drugs, it’s important to know your dosage and how your body responds to it.
“By drink or drug driving you could lose your job, your family or potentially your life.
“Proactively stopping vehicles is part of daily business for our roads policing officers but to highlight the risks of drivers who are over the prescribed limit for drink or drugs pose to themselves and other roads users, we are taking part in the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s summer drink and drug campaign.
“Drink driving kills, it’s a fact, and you could be responsible for the death of someone’s loved one, and potentially spend up to 14 years in prison.
“We will be carrying out stops of drivers over the next couple of weeks to ensure the message is clear - there is no excuse for drink or drug driving and it will not be tolerated.
“We don’t accept excuses, we don’t accept drivers are ‘just over’ the limit - the limit is the law and it’s there for a reason.
“Those found to be breaking that will be prosecuted.”
Office for Health Improvement and Disparities figures show 61 people were killed or injured in a crash in Barnsley where there was a failed breathalyser test, or the driver refused to take one, over a two-year period.
Department for Transport data also shows drivers or riders impaired by alcohol contributed to 15 crashes in Barnsley last year.
Barnsley-based officers’ involvement in the campaign is being supported by the South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership (SYSRP).
Joanne Wehrle, manager of SYSRP, said: “Drink and drug driving can prove fatal and there is absolutely no excuse.
“Please urge your loved ones not to get behind the wheel under the influence or drink or drugs.
“If you think someone has been taking drugs, don’t get in the car with them.
“Think about what you are risking - just don’t do it.”