A FESTIVE plea has been made to drivers to eat, think and be merry to avoid a sad Christmas for you and your family.

Seventy-one people were injured in drink drive collisions in 2011 and police do not want to see anyone’s lives ruined this Christmas in what could be an easily avoidable collision.

Inspector Jason Keates, of the Constabulary’s Road Policing Unit, said: “The consequences of getting behind the wheel whilst impaired through drink or drugs present nothing but a bleak Christmas.

“Committing this crime can not only ruin Christmas but the rest of the driver’s life and the lives of any innocent victims.

“71 people in Gloucestershire were injured in 2011 because of drink driving. If you’re drinking this Christmas, don’t drive, it’s just not worth the risk. Let’s all have a great Christmas, free of drink driving.”

Driving or attempting to drive while above the legal limit or unfit through drink could lead to a six month prison sentence, together with a fine of up to £5,000 and disqualification from driving for at least 12 months.

Since December 1, 37 people have been arrested on suspicion of drink driving with 11 in the last week.

Out of the 37 drivers, 25 have been charged, no further action is being taken against seven and three have been bailed.

Dave Hornibrook, Head of the Road Partnership said: “This campaign is all about enjoying Christmas but avoiding driving or riding while impaired.

“Impairment can be caused by alcohol or drugs - both illicit illegal drugs and some over the counter medication – so please don’t drive while impaired as this will seriously affect your judgement and abilities, and it will give you a false sense of confidence that will put you, your passengers and all those who share the roads with you at significantly increased risk of a collision.

“We want Gloucestershire’s residents to have a safe and very happy Christmas”.