DRINK and drug drivers will be targeted over the festive period as police look to reduce the number of motorists getting behind the wheel while under the influence.

Operation Holly will see Thames Valley Police step up road side breath and drug tests with officers also encouraging the public to report drink and drug drivers.

Last Christmas a total of 347 drivers were caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs across the Thames Valley ­­­­­­­­- a 8.93 per cent increase 2016.

Over three quarters of those drivers arrested were male, with the highest offending age group across the two force regions aged 21 to 30.

READ - how long should you wait after drinking to get behind the wheel? 

A similar campaign over the summer revealed a 37 per cent rise in the number of drivers arrested for drug driving and a 25 per cent increase in the number arrested for drink driving.

Road safety sergeant for Hampshire and Thames Valley Police, Rob Heard, said officers would be running targeted operations across the region between until January 1.

The operations will focus on 'high risk areas' identified by police and based on information supplied by the public.

He added: “Even a small amount of alcohol or drugs in your system can affect your ability to drive safely – don’t let your friends and family pay the price.
“Friends, colleagues and family members can positively influence those around them.

“So we are calling on them to stop potential drink or drug drivers from getting behind the wheel and risking tragedy this Christmas.

"If you know someone who drink or drug drives please stop and think you can help combat this issue, report them to us on 101, by text 077814 80999 or call 999 if they are driving or immediately about to drive under the influence.

"The better the details you give to us the more chance we have to find and deal with them."

Anyone caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs could face a fine of up to £5000, disqualification for driving, and a prison sentence.

Sgt Heard said: “I am urging people to plan ahead during the party season.

“Think about how you’re going to get home and don’t forget about the impact alcohol can still have the morning after.

“Our message is simple, don’t drink or drug drive it’s not worth the risk”.

TVP Drink Driving Facts

  • Each year on the roads of Hampshire and Thames Valley 140 people are killed or seriously injured as a result of alcohol.
  • 26 per cent of all fatal casualties across the area are shown as being impaired by alcohol or drugs as a contributory factor.
  • It is shown that males in their mid-20's are the age group where there is the greatest number of breath tests being refused or failed.
  • A person is 23 times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision when using alcohol and illegal drugs together.
  • Most drink driving offences are committed between 7pm and 7am but the risks of driving the morning after are not always recognised by motorists.
  • Approximately 80 per cent of drink drivers in Hampshire and Thames Valley are male.