Police are set to clamp down on drivers who drink or take drugs before getting behind the wheel following a rise in drink and drug-driving in the Thames Valley region over the summer months.

Starting today (December 1), officers will be carrying out breath tests, drug tests and field impairment test (FIT drug tests) “at every opportunity” until January 1.

The operations will be intelligence-led and focus on high risk areas Thames Valley Police has identified, and from following up on information given by the public.

Rob Heard, Road Safety Sergeant for Hampshire and Thames Valley Police said: “Every year officers deal with cases of drink or drug driving that directly result in families facing Christmas without loves ones.

“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.

“We’ll be running targeted operations across the region to enforce the law on drink and drug driving: you can face a fine of up to £5000, disqualification for driving, and a long prison sentence.”

According to TVP, 26 per cent of all fatal crashes involve an impairment from drink or drugs. In Hampshire and Thames Valley region, police catch around 400 drink drivers a month.

And it says most drink driving offences are committed between 7pm and 7am, but the risks of driving the morning after are not always recognised by motorists.

Sgt Heard added: “Earlier this year our summer drink/drug driving campaign showed a 37 per cent rise in the number of drivers arrested for drug driving and 25 per cent increase in the number arrested for drink driving.

“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.”

Members of the public can report drink or drug-driving by calling 101 or via CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111. You can also text 077814 80999. Call 999 if the person is driving or immediately about to drive under the influence.