Figures released by ACPO following the 2014 festive drink/drug drive campaign show a hike in the percentage of young drivers who tested positive.
Chief constable Suzette Davenport, ACPO’s lead for roads policing, cited a “more intelligence-led approach” which resulted in a significant reduction in the number of tests administered, but a higher percentage failure rate.
In total, 133,996 tests were administered in December 2014, with a failure rate of 4.39%. The comparable figures in December 2013 were 191,040 tests and a failure rate of 3.42%.
The failure rate for tests administered following a collision was 7.43% in December 2014, compared to 5.7% the previous year. The failure rate for tests administered where there was not a collision was 3.73% in 2014 compared with 3.0% the previous December.
Of the 28,228 people under the age of 25yrs who were tested, some 6.33% failed, compared to a failure rate of 3.94% among the over-25s.
The failure rate of 6.33% among young drivers was significantly up on previous years – 4.41% in 2013, 5.27% in 2012 and 5.73% in 2012.
Chief Constable Davenport said: “The use of an intelligence-led approach by officers may give the impression of members of the public not taking seriously the consequences of driving under the influence, but I am confident that our messages on the topic are getting through. Targeted testing is helping officers to pick up on offending in a more efficient way.
“Younger drivers, who are balancing the development of their skills and responsibilities as drivers with the natural enjoyments and explorations of their formative years as adults, are, unsurprisingly, more likely to take risks.
“I will be looking very carefully at these figures and discussing them with colleagues around the police service, as well as with Government and partner agencies so that, between us, we can ensure that we have the best possible regime of advice and enforcement needed to keep our roads safe from those who recklessly drive while intoxicated.”