DORSET Police has launched its annual Christmas crackdown on drink and drug drivers.

Starting today and lasting throughout December, officers will conduct extra traffic patrols and roadside checks on motorists as they bid to reduce the number of people who get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol or drugs.

Anybody involved in a collision will be breathalysed at the side of the road, regardless of whether they are suspected of drink driving or not.

As in previous years, anyone who is caught drink driving will have their names and court appearance details released, which will be published by the Dorset Echo.

Images of those convicted could also be released to the media as part of the campaign.

If someone is caught drink driving they will face a minimum 12 month driving ban, a criminal record, up to six months in prison and a fine of up to £5,000.

Inspector Matt Butler, of Dorset Police’s Traffic Unit, said: “I have seen far too many crashes that have been caused by the irresponsible few who think they are above the law and will drink and drive. I urge everyone to take a minute to think before they get behind the wheel after drinking.

“No one deserves to lose their life because of someone else’s stupidity.”

Last year’s campaign was very successful for the force. More than 1,000 breath tests were conducted, which was around 800 down on the previous year, with 88 people arrested on suspicion of drink driving, but there were only 35 people charged with the offence.

As part of the campaign’s launch, Laura Watson, from Poole, has told of her struggle after she was run-over by 26-year-old drink driver Jack Balding.

The incident, which happened on Sunday, February 22 as she was walking to work, has changed her life completely. In the previous nine months she spent nearly seven weeks in an induced coma, had numerous operations and is now in residential care receiving physical rehabilitation.

Balding admitted drink driving after consuming five pints of lager, and was jailed for 32 months at Bournemouth Crown Court in October.

Her mother, Lisa Watson, is now urging people to not get behind the wheel if they drink or consume drug after admitting her family had gone through hell.

She said: “If Jack Balding could have afforded to buy those drinks, he could have afforded the taxi home rather than driving.

“Laura has the life sentence here – not the man who sat behind the wheel after drinking. “There’s absolutely no way anybody should drive if they’ve had a drink.”

Inspector Butler is urging people to call the police on 101, or 999 immediately, if they suspect someone is drink driving. Calls can also be made to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.