“IF you are drinking, don’t drive and if you are driving, don’t drink.”

That’s the message from Dorset Police as it launches a six week-long campaign to tackle drink-driving in the county.

Inspector Craig Tatton, of the road policing team, said: “There is no typical drink driver in Dorset – in the last three years the oldest person arrested for drink driving was 83 years old and the youngest was 16 years old.”

The force has urged people to take responsibility for their actions and not to risk lives.

As part of the campaign, officers will be carrying out breath tests with those they suspect of drink driving, with offenders facing a minimum 12-month driving ban, an unlimited fine and a criminal record.

Intelligence-led checks will be carried out, which target road users who pose a risk on the roads with officers urging members of the public to get in touch to report anyone they suspect of driving under the influence.

“Despite long-term reductions, drink driving still contributes to over 200 deaths on our roads nationally each year and around 6,000 collisions where drivers were over the limit,” Mr Tatton added.

“During 2019, Dorset Police prosecuted 763 drivers for drink drive-related offences and a further 643 in 2020, despite lockdown restrictions and the closure of licenced premises for extended periods. It’s not just the driver who’s at risk, you could kill or seriously injure another person. Drink driving destroys people’s lives and those of their families. Avoid this happening by planning ahead; leave your vehicle at home, travel by taxi or public transport, or agree a non-drinking designated driver to get people home safely.”

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner David Sidwick said: “With the interruption to the national summer drink drug drive campaign last year due to Covid-19, I felt it was particularly important that there was a campaign in place when lockdown restrictions were lifted. This campaign will not only target our most prolific offenders and high risk motorists, but will serve to remind all drivers about the responsibility we accept when we get behind the steering wheel, and the potential consequences when we don’t take that responsibility seriously.”