Partygoers are being urged to think of the devastating consequences of drinking and driving over the festive season.
Devon and Cornwall Police have launched their Christmas campaign to stop drink driving over the party period.
Almost one in ten drivers stopped were over the drink drive limit, statistics from the force have revealed.
According to the police figures last year of the 2,134 drivers from across the West Country who were breathalysed by officers 252 were positive, failed or refused the test.
As part of this year’s operation, officers will be stepping up roadside checks in the evenings and early mornings throughout December.
Drivers who have been involved in a collision or anyone who has broken driving laws or is suspected to be over the limit or under the influence of drugs will be breathalysed as usual by officers.
Inspector Richard Pryce, head of Roads Policing, said driving while under the influence of drink or drugs is never tolerated but during the festive period the force will be keep an even closer eye on offenders.
He said: “If you drink and drive you risk significant consequences. This is not only increasing your chance of causing serious injury through a collision, but life changing consequences to simply running a normal life. The penalties when caught have far-reaching implications on any drink driver’s life financially, emotionally, psychologically and on their family and friends.
“The punishments are severe, not only from what a court may pass as a sentence, but the on-going consequential effects.
“If convicted of drink driving you will have a criminal record, lose your licence and potentially your livelihood, you could spend time in prison and receive a hefty fine.
“Convictions can also significantly increase insurance premiums and prevent travel to certain countries. More importantly they risk causing a death or serious injury on the roads.
“The message is simple: don’t drink and drive".
A West Country man who was convicted of drink driving last year is backing the campaign.
The 33-year-old Plymouth University student, who does not want to be named, was caught over the limit in November 2012 – a first time offence - and lost his licence for 12 months.
He said: “Drink driving had a catastrophic impact on every part of my life – my university placement, my finances, my relationships and my independence.
“The implications of a small error of judgement, clouded by alcohol has made the last year at university very difficult. It has put a question mark over whether I would be accepted on a doctrine course and made the possibility of working in America slim. A greater embarrassment has been telling my family and friends and of course getting access to my son.
Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Hogg is backing the campaign fully.
He said: “The effect of alcohol on all sections of society is very high on my list of priorities and I urge everyone to think before they risk ruining their lives by drink-driving.
“I want everyone to enjoy Christmas and I know for many that involves drinking alcohol but if that is the case don’t drink and drive. The implications are high and the cost of a taxi ride might just be the best thing you buy this Christmas.”
Devon and Cornwall Police’s campaign is part of a national crackdown over the festive season launched by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).