Police step up roadside breath tests following increase in alcohol related deaths

10.38 | 9 February 2024 |

New data shows police in England and Wales breathalysed 249,542 motorists in 2022 – an increase of 8% compared with the previous year.

The data, highlighted by breathalyser firm AlcoSense, represents the first year-on-year increase in the number of breath tests since the year ending December 2012

However, the volume of breath tests remains well below the peak of 647,380 breath tests in 2009.

It also shows nearly 17% of drivers were over the limit – similar to the previous two years.

Alcosense has welcomed the increase in roadside breath tests, following the recent increase in alcohol related deaths.

In 2021, there were 260 deaths on Britain’s roads where a motorist was over the drink drive limit – the highest since 2009.  

In total, the DfT figures estimate a total of 6,740 people were killed or injured in drink drive collisions that year.

Hunter Abbott, managing director of AlcoSense, said: “We’re pleased to see an increase in the number of dedicated road policing officers, which has resulted in stricter enforcement.

“Home Office figures show there were 3,960 traffic officers by March 2023 – up 2% on the previous year.

“However our testing levels still lag way behind other European countries. In England and Wales just five tests per 1,000 inhabitants are carried out.

“In Ireland the figure is 18 per 1,000 population, whilst in France it’s 109”.  

Alcosense says other reasons for the increase in breathalyser tests in 2022 include traffic returning to normal levels following the Covid lockdown restrictions and the football World Cup in November and December.



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