More than 600 suspected drink or drug drivers have been arrested so far this year in Cambridgeshire as police warn motorists of the risks of driving under the influence this festive season.

Motorists are being warned that drink or drug driving could destroy lives forever as a month-long campaign starts today (Friday, December 1).

At least 230 people have been killed or injured on roads across Cambridgeshire since the start of 2022 because of a drink or drug driver.

In February, Tomasz Zylinski caused a head-on collision which killed one man and left three seriously injured.

In the moments after the collision he tried to restart his engine and was described by a witness as “stinking of alcohol”. He was later found to be more than three times the legal drink drive limit. Zylinski was handed eight years behind bars.

In July, Asadul Karim smashed into the side of a car at 100mph, instantly killing a man.

He lost control of his car when approaching a roundabout. His victim, who was just 36, had been waiting at a red light. Karim was jailed for 12 years.

A total of 690 suspected drink and drug drivers have been arrested in Cambridgeshire so far this year, with the last month of the year still to go. 

On November 29, officers arrested a woman in Huntingdon after she blew 193 - more than five times the legal drink drive limit of 35 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath. 

She was charged with drink-driving, driving without insurance and without a licence. 

The 690 arrests so far this year compare to 812 arrests in 2022. Officers will be carrying out roadside checks across the county due to the serious consequences of drink driving.

The Hunts Post: Police say they will be setting up drive-drive check points in the county.Police say they will be setting up drive-drive check points in the county. (Image: CAMBS POLICE)

PC Sam Sparkes, from the BCH Road Policing Unit, is a family liaison officer (FLO), who supports families whose loved ones have been killed or seriously injured on our roads.

The Hunts Post: Sam Sparkes says it is devastating to have to break bad news to families.Sam Sparkes says it is devastating to have to break bad news to families. (Image: CAMBS POLICE)

She said: “Knocking at someone’s door at any time of the year to tell them the life-changing news that their family member will not be coming home is difficult, but it is especially hard around Christmas, when families are looking forward to spending the time together.

“It’s also difficult when an incident could have been avoided – for example if someone called a taxi instead of deciding to drink or take drugs and drive.

“One incident which will always stay with me is where a drunk driver and their child died on Christmas day; being the one to tell the family this news was heart-breaking.

“We don’t want to be telling your family this Christmas that you will not be there to celebrate with them.

“The message is simple, please do not drink or take drugs and drive.”

People can help make the roads of Cambridgeshire safer for everyone by confidentially reporting others they suspect of driving while under the influence of drink or drugs.

The force’s dedicated, confidential hotline: 0800 032 0845 is available 24/7. If someone is in immediate danger, always call 999.

Calls to the hotline nearly tripled after the force’s festive campaign last year, with five  calls in November compared to 13  calls in December. Throughout 2022, there was a total of 119 calls to the hotline. 

Home Office data revealed Cambridgeshire to have breath tested nine drivers per 1,000 population in 2020 – almost double the average of five drivers tested per 1000 population in Britain.

This was one of the highest rates of breathalysing in 2020, second behind only three other forces, with a high number of positive (or refused) tests.

For more information about drink or drug driving, the law and the dangers it can cause, visit the force's dedicated web page.