Many police forces across the UK are today (01 December) launching their winter anti-drink driving campaigns to encourage road users to abide by the law and stay safe over the Christmas period.

The campaign will last from 01 December 2015 to 01 January 2016 and is hoping to ensure that drivers don’t ignore drink driving restrictions. It is also aiming to reduce the percentage of people who were found to be over the limit when breathalysed last December. In 2014, 4.39 per cent of people tested were positive the highest percentage since 2011.

Joining forces with a variety of other organisations, ranging from charities to councils, police forces want to ensure that the public realise the legal and safety repercussions if they choose to drink alcohol and then get behind the wheel.

Gloucestershire County Council, Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service, the police and Police and Crime Commissioner have teamed up to tackle the issue in the South West. Police in Sussex are working with Sussex Safer Roads Partnership, Drive Smart in Surrey and the independent charity Crimestoppers.

Further north, West Yorkshire Police are supporting this year's national Christmas drink driving campaign by encouraging the public to 'dob in a drink or drug driver'. Police in Nottingham, West Mercia and Leicester are also getting behind the seasonal campaign.

The increased safety measures include extra patrols, the use of new roadside testing equipment and encouraging people to alert police if they suspect someone of drink-driving. Police will also be releasing information about those arrested and found guilty of drink-driving in an attempt to ‘name and shame’ those who put lives at risk.

Helen Williams, a senior road accident solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors’ Bristol office, said: “Nearly one in six of all deaths on the road involve drivers who are over the legal alcohol limit. This statistic shows the effects of drink-driving, and the devastation it has on people’s lives.

“It needs to be socially unacceptable for drivers to get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol over the festive period but also throughout the year. That involves thinking ahead if they know they are attending a social event where they may be tempted to drink and arranging alternative transport methods.

“Prison sentences, fines and driving bans are well known to be in place to dissuade the public from drink driving, but if those drivers saw the devastation we see for the family and friends of someone killed by a drink-driver anyone with any kind of conscience wouldn’t even consider getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol. They endanger not only their own safety but those all around them too.”