AN HGV driver has been jailed after a roadside breath test revealed him to be more than three times the legal alcohol limit while driving on the M5 in Somerset.

Ihar Shynkevich, 35, was pulled over by Special Constable Danny Hopkins and Special Constable Kalvin Mackenzie on the afternoon of Monday, February 5, following a 999 call from a concerned member of the public who had observed his lorry being driven erratically.

Police dashcam footage shows the lorry, which was carrying cargo weighing more than 21 tonnes, veering between lanes and narrowly avoiding a vehicle joining the northbound carriageway at junction 22.

Shynkevich was arrested at Sedgemoor service station after failing a roadside breath test and was subsequently charged with driving a motor vehicle while over the prescribed alcohol limit.

He appeared in court the next day and was sentenced to 19 weeks imprisonment, in addition to being disqualified from driving for 1163 days.

Roads Policing A/Insp Stephen Whatley said: “Considering the size of Shynkevich’s vehicle, the weight of the load he was carrying, and the manner of his driving on a busy stretch of carriageway, there could easily have been a major collision on the M5 that afternoon.

“Fortunately, this was avoided and a dangerous driver has now been taken off the roads thanks to a report from a member of the public.

“Given the seriousness of the circumstances, a custodial sentence is appropriate and welcomed.”

So far in 2024, there have been 255 arrests for drink driving and 153 arrests for drug driving in Avon and Somerset, a total of 408 arrests in just over eight weeks.

For comparison, 324 drivers were arrested during our annual winter operation to target drink and drug drivers, which ran during the month of December.

Chief Inspector Rob Cheeseman, head of Roads Policing, said: “The arrest data for the first eight weeks of 2024 shows that drink and drug driving remains a major problem on our roads, despite the well-known risks.

“It should also dispel the misconception that enforcement activity only goes on during the Christmas period when media attention peaks.

”To be clear: those who make the reckless choice to drink or drug drive, day or night, should expect to get caught.

“I would like to acknowledge the hard work of our teams – including the Special Constabulary, who volunteer their time – who are all working tirelessly to keep our roads safe.”