A TOTAL of 146 people were arrested under suspicion of drink or drug driving in Avon and Somerset during the festive period.

As a result of Operation Tonic running throughout December, 78 of them have been charged, while a further 40 have been released under investigation.

The highest reading recorded during the campaign was 151 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 ml of breath - more than four times the legal limit of 35 mg.

Operation Tonic involved high visibility and covert patrols aimed at targeting drink and drug drivers throughout the festive period.

By targeting drink and drug driving, police msay they aim to help reduce deaths, serious injuries and crime on the roads of the force area.


  • December 2017: 146 arrests, 70 people charged, 40 released under investigation.
  • December 2016: 184 arrests, 117 people charged.
  • December 2015: 155 arrests, 96 people charged.
  • December 2014: 106 arrests, 59 people charged.

The number of people breathalysed in 2016 was 1,162, with 1,430 in 2015. The 2017 figure is not yet known.

Supt Andy Williams, head of road safety in Avon and Somerset, said: "Drink/drug driving is one of the ‘fatal four' offences which cause the majority of deaths on our roads.

"The people arrested during in the run up to Christmas chose to drive whilst intoxicated and were acting in an incredibly selfish and reckless manner.

"Those driving under the influence not only risk arrest but more crucially, their own lives and the lives of others.

“Unlike previous years there has been no strong common link or emerging ‘trend’ in drivers arrested.

"The vast majority of those arrested were over 30-years-old and this could be a product of our work with young people in ensuring the next generation stays safe on the road.

"We always promote education over prosecution where possible and use a combination of these to tackle drink driving.”

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “The police are committed to keeping the roads of Avon and Somerset safe for all that use them.

"Driving under the influence of drink or drugs is not only a crime, it is socially and morally unacceptable, and I believe the majority of law-abiding people support the police in doing all we can to bring offenders to justice.”

Avon and Somerset Police received more than 340 tip offs from members of the public who were asked to call or text with information about intoxicated drivers.

A force spokesman said: "This positive response shows the local public understand the impact of this behaviour and their willingness to help us bring people to justice.

"We were able to respond to three quarters of tip off calls made to us and all other information received was fed into future investigations and intelligence for ongoing road safety management."

Although the Op Tonic campaign is now over, people are still encouraged to tell the police if someone drives while drunk or drugged, before someone gets hurt.

Dial 999 if you know someone is driving now while drunk or under the influence of drugs.

In less urgent cases you can dial 101, contacting police through the force website or e-mail drinkdrive@avonandsomerset.police.uk.

If you want to report anonymously use Crimestoppers on 0800555111.