As part of the Operation Tonic drink and drug driving campaign, officers are asking the public to look out for friends or family who may be driving over the limit.
During the Christmas campaign across Avon and Somerset, almost a fifth of people arrested for drink driving were experiencing depression, poor mental health or substance abuse problems.
Chief Inspector Kevan Rowlands, force lead for Road Safety, said:
“The arrests we made in December weren’t the ‘Christmas party people’ we were expecting and many people we arrested had substance abuse issues.
That’s why we’re asking friends or family of people who might be using alcohol or drugs as a way to cope with a hard time, and are at risk of driving whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs, to talk to them about the risks: from the life-changing impact of being caught, to the potential for serious injury or death.
If this approach doesn’t work and you are concerned about someone driving under the influence and causing danger to themselves and others, please tell us before someone is seriously injured or killed.
If someone is driving drunk now, call us on 999. To give intelligence about someone you are concerned about, you can report via our website or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
Operation Tonic is a bi-annual campaign that sees high visibility and covert patrols targeting drink and drug drivers.
As part of this month’s operation police have dedicated intelligence staff working on drink and drug drivers, and have trained a team from their Special Constabulary in drug detection wipes.
These activities compliment a leafleting campaign in pub car parks, letting drivers know that officers are nearby. To help reach family and friends of people with substance abuse issues, the force is also using Facebook advertising.