DRIVERS are being urged not to take the risk as part of a campaign to crack down on drink and drug-driving offences.

The month-long campaign is being carried out by Thames Valley Police and colleagues in Hampshire to prevent fatalities over the Christmas period.

Every year, 140 people are killed or seriously injured as a result of alcohol in the two policing areas.

Officers will be stepping up patrols and conducting breath and drug tests between December 1 and January 1 to help tackle the problem.

Rob Heard, road safety sergeant for Hampshire and Thames Valley, 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 are calling on them to stop potential drink or drug drivers from getting behind the wheel and risking tragedy this Christmas."

Each month across Hampshire and Thames Valley, just under 400 drivers are caught drink driving.

A summer campaign showed a 37 per cent rise in the number of drivers arrested for drug driving and 25 per cent increase in the number arrested for drink-driving.

A driver is 23 times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision when using alcohol and illegal drugs together.

Men in their mid-20's are the age group where there is the greatest number of breath tests being refused or failed.

Sgt Heard added: “We will be running targeted operations across the region to enforce the law on drink and drug driving.

"You can face a fine of up to £5,000, disqualification for driving, and a long prison sentence.

"If you know someone who drink or drug-drives please stop and think how you can help combat this issue.

“I am urging people to plan ahead during the party season. Think about how you are going to get home and don’t forget about the impact alcohol can still have the morning after.

"Our message is simple, don’t drink or drug-drive; it is not worth the risk.”