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Last Updated: Friday, 30 November 2007, 13:16 GMT
Male drink-drivers are targeted
A police officer breathalysing a motorist
The anti-drink-drive campaign is particularly vigilant at Christmas
Young men in England and Wales are being actively targeted by the government in this year's Christmas campaign against drink driving.

The initiative includes new internet and radio adverts and is geared towards males aged 17 to 29.

Drink-drivers face being handed a criminal record, a minimum one-year driving ban and a large fine.

Road Safety Minister Jim Fitzpatrick has urged party-goers to "leave the car keys at home".

Mr Fitzpatrick was speaking at the launch of the government's launch of the campaign.

He said: "Last year 540 people died in this pointless, avoidable way - that's lives shattered and the dreams of family and friends devastated.

"There were over 600,000 people breathalysed last year. In December there will be twice as many as any other month so we're saying to drivers, 'For goodness' sake be sensible, act responsibly'.

"If you're going to drink, club together with friends and get a cab, use public transport, or walk to the pub, but leave the car at home and don't let it get in the way of the rest of your life, Christmas or anything else."

'Zero tolerance'

Mr Fitzpatrick also said the government would be consulting on lowering the drink drive limit.

He told GMTV: "There is always an argument for zero tolerance.

"We are going to be consulting early in the new year on whether to keep the limit as it stands or drop it, and whether to introduce random breath testing of motorists."

Chief Constable Stephen Green, head of roads policing at the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: "Tackling drink and drug-driving is always a high priority for police forces, but never more so than at Christmas.

"Forces across the country will be patrolling the roads vigilantly for those driving under the influence and are united in their determination to stop the reckless driving of a few ruining Christmas for the many."

The Christmas anti-drink-drive campaign in Northern Ireland was launched on 23 November, and Scotland's month-long Festive Safety campaign is launched across the country's eight police force areas during early December.

Police test drink drivers at the roadside

Festive safety campaign launched
27 Nov 07 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Drink-driving 'a problem for all'
23 Nov 07 |  Northern Ireland
Drink-drive victim awarded 6.5m
19 Nov 07 |  West Midlands
Drink-drive music teacher jailed
16 Nov 07 |  South East Wales

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