HAMPSHIRE police are today launching their annual Christmas crackdown on drink-driving in a bid to keep death off the road during the festive period.

Their message to any motorist tempted to flout the law is: “It’s not worth the risk.”

The annual blitz on drink and drug-driving comes as a part of their campaign Operation Holly, which is designed to help reduce the number of drug and alcohol related traffic collisions and to protect other road users.

People caught drink or drug-driving face a range of punishments, including a driving ban, a fine of up to £5,000 and a long prison sentence.

Last Christmas, Hampshire carried out more breath tests than almost any other force and officers will be out in force again from today.

A police spokesperson said: “Between December 1 and January 1, officers will be carrying out breath tests, drug tests and field impairment tests at every opportunity.

“This is to help raise awareness that we’re proactively able to identify those who drive while impaired. The operations will be intelligence-led and focus on high risk areas.”

Each year around 140 people are killed or seriously injured on the roads of Hampshire and Thames Valley as a result of alcohol.

Road Safety Sergeant, Rob Heard, said: “Every year officers deal with cases of drink or drug-driving that directly result in families facing Christmas without loves ones.

“Even a small amount of alcohol or drugs in your system can affect your ability to drive safely – don’t let your friends and family pay the price.

“Friends, colleagues and family members can positively influence those around them, so we’re calling on them to stop potential drink or drug-drivers from getting behind the wheel and risking tragedy this Christmas.

“I’m urging people to plan ahead during the party season.

“Think about how you’re going to get home and don’t forget about the impact alcohol can still have the morning after. Don’t drink or drug-drive, it’s not worth the risk.”

Drivers are nearly three times more likely to be breathalysed in December than other months.

Home Office figures show that police across the country conducted 63,648 roadside breath tests last December, compared with the average of 23,840.

Officers are urging anyone who knows a drink or drug-driver to contact Hampshire police by calling 101 or texting 07781 480999. They should always call 999 immediately if they see someone who is driving – or about to drive – while under the influence.