DRINK and drug drivers are being targeted by police across Somerset over the coming month.

Operation Tonic, which will run until January 1 2018, involves high visibility and covert patrols aimed at targeting motorists getting behind the wheel when they have been drinking or taking drugs.

As part of the campaign, Avon and Somerset Police are calling on members of the public to inform on drink or drug drivers by ringing 999 if it is happening now or texting the word 'drunk' with brief details of the car, location and driver to 07400-249101 if it is not someone currently driving.

By targeting drink and drug driving, police aim to help reduce deaths, serious injuries and crime on the roads of the Avon and Somerset force area.

Drink/drug driving is one of the 'fatal four' offences, together with speeding, not wearing a seatbelt and using a mobile phone while driving, that are known to cause the majority of deaths on our roads.

Operation Tonic in numbers:

  • December 2016: 184 arrests and 117 people charged;
  • December 2015: 155 arrests and 96 people charged;
  • December 2014: 106 arrests and 59 people charged;
  • 2016: 1,162 people breathalysed;
  • 2015: 1,430+ people breathalysed.

Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Cullen said: “Our message is very simple - if you get behind the wheel under the influence of drink or drugs, you are risking your life and the lives of those around you.

“The arrests we made last 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 while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, to talk to them about the risks.

“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."

Call 999 if someone is driving while over the limit now or save 07400 249101 into your phone and text police starting with the word ‘Drunk’”.

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “Over the festive period, many of us will be having fun, hosting gatherings and socialising with family and friends.

"Driving under the influence of drink or drugs is not only a crime, it is socially and morally unacceptable and can have devastating consequences.

"Don’t gamble with your ability to drive, it’s not worth the risk.

“The police are committed to keeping the roads of Avon and Somerset safe for all that use them.

"I believe the majority of law-abiding people support the police in doing all we can to bring offenders to justice, keeping the roads safe not only this Christmas but all year round."