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Drink drive arrests rise over Christmas

  • Drink-drive arrests rise in 2011
  • Total number of tests down, however
  • Drug testing also on the increase
Words ByTom Webster

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Drink-drive arrests during the 2011 Christmas period were up over the same period last year despite fewer breath tests being taken in 2011.

Of 156,569 tests carried out, 4.55% of drivers were either over the drink-drive limit, or failed to take the test up from 3.91% in 2010.

The Association of Chief Police Officers said that 7% of people tested after a collision were found to be over the limit, compared with 4.1% of those taking routine breath tests.

A rise in intelligence-led policing resulted in fewer tests being taken, with police forces targeting drink-drive hotspots and allowing the public to send tip-offs by text.

Police carried out 36% more field impairment tests to detect if drivers were impaired by the use of drugs, with 91 of the 540 tests leading to arrests.

The figures revealed that younger drivers are more likely to risk getting behind the wheel after drinking, with 5.7% of under 25s failing breath tests, compared with 4% of older motorists.

A shortage of education was offered as a reason for the rise by Neil Greig, director of policy and research at the Institute of Advanced Motorists.

The Government are no longer doing TV advertising on drink driving, and research says this is the medium that tends to stick best in peoples minds,' he said.

He also urged the Government to include drink-drive messages on bottles of alcohol. This would be alongside health messages that the Government plans to print on bottles from 2013.

Tom Webster