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WATCH: Shock drink-drive stats for Cornwall & Devon

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11:50am 14th September 2017
(Updated 11:50am 14th September 2017)

Police say you are twice as likely to get caught drink-driving in Cornwall and Devon than almost anywhere else.

Figures seen by Pirate FM show one in five drivers stopped in the last four years failed or refused a breath test.

Now officers want to quash myths like 'I'll be OK the morning after'.

They revealed that one man in his thirties blew 147 at 9.30am after being out the night before - or four times over the legal limit in layman's terms.

Roads policing inspector Pete Thomas said: "There is still a very real chance that you could still be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, so my advice would be if you've had a heavy night before, you leave it as long as you can the next day before getting behind the wheel.

"If you drink or drug-drive, your driving is impaired. Your reaction times increase, which means your stopping distance and everything else increases, and the chances of you having any sort of collision. which could be serious or fatal, just go up".

The force says its annual summer drink drive campaign in June revealed that there is no such thing as a 'typical' drink-driver.

From a sample of 98, people caught included the likes of civil engineers, fishermen, scientists, welfare workers and students and within that list, 20% of people stopped were unenployed and 30%-40% under the age of 25.

Scroll down to watch the impact drink or drug-driving can have or read the myths officers want to shut down:

I won't be prosecuted if my breath test is under the legal limit

False. If the police have see you driving in a careless or dangerous fashion, whether you have had a collision or not, or if you have a collision, you could still be arrested, charged and prosecuted for a 'Section 4' offense of driving a mechanically propelled vehicle whilst unfit through drink or drugs - even if you are 'under the limit of 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath'.

I won't be breaking the law if the car isn't moving

False. If you are in a car and have been drinking and you have the means to start that vehicle, then the burden of proof is upon you to prove that you did not intend to drive it. This June people certainly tried and were still tested and arrested. One driver was asleep in the car with the engine running and one even claimed that they were living in their car.

It's just a fine and some points on the license, maybe a ban for a few months

False. People convicted of drink or drug driving can expect to be banned from driving for at least 12 months, receive a fine of up to £5000 and/or six months in prison. When someone dies as a result of a collision involving a driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol, sentences can carry a penalty of up to ten years in prison. In June at least two 24-month disqualifications were handed down, and one driver went to prison for six weeks.

The police just stop people at random

False. If that were the case, the arrest rate in Devon and Cornwall wouldn't be as high. Roads policing is intelligence led and you can help. If you have information that someone has been drinking and is going to drive then in an emergency call 999. Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111. Watch our video to see what can happen next: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-IKM4zsq4c

Not that some drink drivers need help to be spotted by police and stopped. Leaving aside those seen to be driving erratically or with excess speed, from our sample we had drivers who: drove into a pedestrian area; drove into parked cars, drove into a lamppost and drove into a no entry road, who left the scene of an accident and one who was found slumped at the wheel and then fell out of the car when the door was opened and was later found also to have cocaine in their blood.

Surely every British person has got the message about drink driving by now?

False. Sadly not. 79% of the drivers arrested in our sample were British, with the other 21% being made up of 10 different nationalities.

So nothing's changed then?

False. Attitudes to drink driving are changing, although there is still room for improvement. While there are very few people who would think it acceptable to jump into their car after a drinking session at the pub, for which there is no excuse, the rest of us still have to think more about the consequences of driving the morning after: don't risk it. Drink driving is increasingly socially unacceptable and is even less so when the impact of losing your license, your job and the respect of your friends and family if you are arrested is taken into account. While the number of stops have gone down since figures were recorded in 2007, the percentage of those who have provided a positive, failed or refused breath test has almost trebled. Intelligence led targeted policing of the regions roads uses assets more efficiently with the aim of making the roads safer for everyone.

As a driver I'm being victimised

False. The victims of drink driving are those who are killed or seriously injured by drink drivers. The consequences of driving while impaired through drink or drugs can be devastating - a car in the hands of someone in that condition is a collision waiting to happen - reaction times go up and spatial awareness reduces. Despite long term reductions, drink and drug driving still accounts for 15% of road deaths and almost 10'000 casualties nationally each year. Think about the consequences, the devastation caused to families affected and how many lives are needlessly lost when otherwise law abiding people decide to commit a crime thinking they won’t get caught.

Watch the video from Devon and Cornwall Police to see what see what can happen next...

11:50am 14th September 2017

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