Inclement weather leads to fall in drink drive testing and convictions

13.03 | 20 January 2011 |

Figures released last week by ACPO show a 13% reduction in the number of drink drive arrests over the festive period – but police forces carried out 24% fewer breath tests, largely due to bad weather.

ACPO’s figures show that more than 6,600 people were arrested in the month-long Christmas and New Year drink/drug drive campaign – a reduction of 13% on the previous year.

The campaign ran from 1 December 2010 to 1 January 2011 with officers from 43 forces throughout England and Wales testing drivers at all times of the day and night. Of those tested 32% were recorded as being under the age of 25.

The number of people tested dropped by 24% on last year and the number of people found to be under the influence of drink or drugs dropped by 13%. Forces have attributed the reduction in the level of testing to the bad weather.

Mick Giannasi, ACPO lead for roads policing, said: “Forces across England and Wales stopped and tested 169,838 people during what was reported to be the coldest December in 120 years. Despite the dangerous conditions created by the weather and the very clear message that drinking and driving is not acceptable, more than six and a half thousand drivers appear not to have listened.

“Given the exceptional road and weather conditions which we experienced in December, forces across the country reported a significant reduction in the number of people using the roads.

“Understandably, in those conditions, we were not able to conduct as many tests as we did last year. Despite that, there were still 6,613 people who chose to put the lives of others at risk by driving under the influence of drink and drugs.”

The statistics also once again reveal that those who have been drinking and then drive are more likely to be involved in an accident – 7% (1727 people) of those breath tested after a collision were arrested. The number of people testing positive for drugs increased to 20% of those tested.

Duncan Vernon, RoSPA’s road safety manager for England, said: “We have had many years of high-profile drink-drive publicity and education, and it is disappointing that so many people are still not getting the message that drink driving is dangerous and can be avoided. Road conditions across much of the country were extremely tough during December and it is particularly worrying to think that so many drivers were making an already difficult situation worse by getting behind the wheel while over the limit.
“On average, more than 200 people were arrested each day during the Christmas campaign. This shows that we cannot let up on drink-drive education; there are always new drivers to reach with the important messages and others who need reminding.”

Click here to read the full ACPO report.


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