North Yorkshire Police has issued a warning to anyone considering drink driving this festive season - do it and you could lose your licence by Christmas, and spend 2019 banned.
So far, 44 motorists have been arrested on suspicion of drink or drug driving in North Yorkshire since the campaign began, while 16 have already been given court dates.
Offenders are being dealt with swiftly by the police and justice system in a bid to get drink and drug drivers off the roads.
Magistrates courts around the county are on standby and slots have been set aside so offenders can be dealt with promptly.
Anyone convicted of drink driving receives an automatic driving ban. They can be fined thousands of pounds and can even be imprisoned.
Traffic Sergeant Andy Morton, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “Imagine spending the whole of 2019 being banned from driving. Imagine how difficult it would be to get to work, to see your friends and family or to just go to the shop for a pint of milk.
“People take their driving licence for granted. It’s only when they lose it that you realise what a big impact it has on your life and your career.
“But that’s nothing compared to the impact on innocent people’s lives if you have a crash.
“We see the consequences of drink and drug driving first-hand, from picking up body parts at a crash scene to knocking on a door to tell a family their loved on has been killed – it’s one of the most distressing things police officers have to see.
“You can help us by never driving under the influence and by keeping an eye on your friends this Christmas. If they’re considering driving after a drink, just order them a taxi. It could be the best thing you ever do for them.”
The campaign is organised by 95 Alive, the York and North Yorkshire Road Safety Partnership comprising of North Yorkshire County Council, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, North Yorkshire Police, City of York Council, District Councils and Community Safety.
Throughout December, police will be out in force, carrying out stop checks at all times of the day and night, including early mornings to detect those who are still over the limit from the night before. They will also be targeting known offenders and key locations throughout the county.
During last year’s month-long Christmas campaign, 137 drivers were arrested across the region on suspicion of being over the limit.
The highest breathalyser reading was 141 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath, provided by a 41-year-old woman arrested in the Thirsk area.
Magistrates gave her a 16 week prison sentence suspended for 18 months. She also received a 36-month driving ban and was ordered to pay £200 costs.
If you see someone about to drink drive notify police immediately by dialling 999. If you have information about someone who you believe regularly drives after consuming alcohol or drugs, please call North Yorkshire Police on 101 or alternatively Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 to pass this information on to officers.