Would you shop a drink driver for £200?

Man being breathalysed
This is fascinating. We all know drink driving is wrong. It causes death, injury and damage and it blights the lives of those involved. It’s selfish, it’s reckless and it can never be justified. But would you grass someone up to the police if you knew they were over the limit? That’s exactly what West Midlands Police is asking people to do – and it’s offering cash rewards of up to £200 in return for reporting drink and drug drivers this Christmas.

Call the cops

Inspector Greg Jennings, who is heading up the force’s seasonal drink drive campaign, said: "Every year it is the same story - people seem to think that it is acceptable to have a few with their family or friends and then get behind the wheel. "In some cases they would not dream of drink driving, or taking drugs at other times of the year, but they lose their common sense as Christmas draws near. So now, via Crimestoppers, we’re asking anyone who is aware of people breaking the law to pick up the phone and report selfish individuals who think it’s OK to drink or take drugs and drive." The call can be made anonymously 0800 555 111. In cases where offenders are arrested and prosecuted, rewards of up to £200 will be made.

The morning after

Inspector Sion Hathaway of the Central Motorway Police Group, which covers the many busy motorways in the area, added: "The message is simple - drink driving kills and making a call could save a life. There are devastated families across our region, and the wider UK, who have had to face the horrendous situation where their loved one has gone out and then not come home, all because of a driver who selfishly got behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs. Many don’t even realise that they still pose a risk, and could be breaking the law, the morning after.

"Our specially trained officers have to work with families who have been left devastated by one mindless act and our aim is to stop people before they harm themselves, or others. "A driver who reaches the lowest legal drink drive limit is almost three times more likely to be involved in a crash than someone who has drunk nothing. We regularly see drivers registering twice the legal limit, who are 22 times more likely to crash." Officers across the region will be on patrol morning and night to catch people who flout the law. Motorway cops will also be staging operations throughout the 450 miles of the Midlands networks to catch people who are prepared to take to the motorway when under the influence - including the morning after.

Random checks

This year will see officers stopping cars both randomly and based on information about vehicles believed to be used by drink drivers. In 2012 almost 4,000 drivers were stopped and breath tested by West Midlands Police over the festive period, with 338 people either failing the test or refusing to offer a specimen. Inspector Jennings added: "The information people pass on to us will directly influence our patrols and could well prevent a family experiencing tragedy this Christmas, as well as leading to people being brought before the courts.

"Nationally we saw a 25% increase in drink-related deaths last year and the festive period is always the most significant time for such offences being committed. "It’s important we do all we can to deter people from making the choice to drink or drug-drive and pursue them to the extent of the law if they do. "The answer is a simple one. If you know you have to drive, don’t drink. And if the thought of going out and not drinking is just too much to bear, don’t drive."

 

So what do you reckon? Would you shop a drink driver? We’d love to know your thoughts…

 

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