A significantly greater proportion of drivers tested positive in the 2015 All Wales festive drink and drug driving campaign than in the previous two years.
The campaign, which ran from 1 December until New Year’s Day, saw police officers across Wales administer breath tests to 22,811 motorists, with 597 testing positive (2.61%).
The corresponding figures for 2014 were 30,718 tests and 488 positive (1.59%), and for 2013 35,255 tests and 465 positive (1.31%).
The percentage of positive tests in England and Scotland in the same period were 5.02% and 3% respectively, both of which are higher than during the 2014 campaign.
Police forces are conducting significantly fewer breath tests during the annual festive period than in previous years. The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) says this is down to forces taking an “intelligence-led approach” and targeting “drink drive hotspots”.
During the campaign in Wales, 99 drivers were arrested for drug driving offences, while in England more drug drivers were arrested in December 2015 than in the whole of 2014. These results are attributed to new legislation and drug detection devices which have made it easier for police to identify and prosecute drug drivers.
ACC Julian Williams, Gwent Police, said: “It is disappointing that despite high profile campaigns and the awareness raising officers and our partner agencies do across the country, people are still continuing to put their own lives and the lives of others in danger by getting behind the wheel while being unfit to drive through drink or drugs.”
Susan Storch, chair of Road Safety Wales, added: “Driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs is unacceptable and anyone caught faces a minimum one year driving ban, an unlimited fine and even a prison sentence.
“Every year, families have to deal with the devastating effects of losing a loved one because of a small minority who selfishly choose to drink or take drugs and then drive – something which is entirely avoidable.”