Police have sounded a warning to locals this holiday season after it was revealed that the number of Canberrans caught driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs has risen in the past 12 months.
A joint road safety campaign between ACT Policing and the Justice and Community Safety Directorate will focus on alcohol and drug-impaired driving throughout December and January, with police saying they are disappointed with the increasing numbers.
Data contained in the ACT Policing annual report for 2017-18 shows the number of individuals apprehended by ACT Policing for drink driving offences has increased by 16.6 per cent, from 941 offenders in 2016–17 financial year to 1097 offenders in 2017–18.
ACT Policing said 1029 people were charged with drink driving and 472 with drug driving last year and police data shows the territory has already exceeded these marks in 2018.
Officer in Charge of Traffic Operations, Acting Station Sergeant David Wills said he was disappointed to still see so many people arrested for impaired driving, calling it a “serious issue”.
“The summer months bring a rise in parties, end of year celebrations and public holidays, but sadly we also see a rise in antisocial, illegal and potentially dangerous behaviour,” he said.
“Broadly, there are still far too many people being charged with drink and drug driving offences, which tells us people still aren’t getting the message when it comes to driving a vehicle while under the influence.”
Acting Station Sergeant Wills reminded Canberrans of the dangers of driving while being impaired by alcohol or drugs and implored them not to take a risk behind the wheel.
“You significantly increase the risk of causing a collision, potentially seriously injuring or killing yourself or someone else,” he said.
“Police members don’t want to be knocking on doors this Christmas having to tell people their loved one has died because they or someone else were driving under the influence.
“I would like to remind people to drink responsibly, and if you do drink, don’t drive. Plan your night out, and know how you are getting home safely.
“We want people to enjoy their summer and their festive season, but if you break the law, you will face the consequences.”