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Drink Driving Still A Problem, Figures Show

The number of drink drivers on the road over Christmas fell in the West Midlands but rose in Warwickshire, results of the annual campaign have shown.

During the campaign, which ran over Christmas and the New Year police in both forces stopped thousands of vehicles for a variety of reasons.

Breath tests are required after a collision, if there has been a moving traffic offence or if officers suspect drink driving.

In the West Midlands 195 drivers out of 2,300 failed tests. In Warwickshire 42 out of 398 tested positive, with 32 of these being charged. Last year 26 people were charged after 37 positive tests carried out among 420 drivers.

More people in the West Midlands were involved in road traffic collisions over the festive period: 235 this year against 154 for last year.

Police said they were pleased that the number of positive breath tests taken from those in accidents fell to 32 rather than the 65 who gave a positive test last year.

In Warwickshire 22 of 173 drivers involved in collisions tested positive – 12.7 per cent, with 56 collisions resulting in injury. Last year the 19 out of 126 (15 per cent) tested positive, with 43 tests following injury collisions.

Chief Insp Martyn Thomas from the West Midlands Police traffic unit said:

"As everyone is well aware, people in the West Midlands faced some horrendous driving conditions over the Christmas and New Year period and we believe that the torrential rain and snow falls added to the number of collisions.

"We are pleased to see that the amount of drivers who gave positive breath tests fell by some 50 per cent but are disappointed that the message failed to get through to some drivers in our region.

"Our officers across the force area stopped some 13,500 motorists during the festive period and required breath tests from 2,300 - 195 of those gave positive samples.

"Our message to motorists was clear at the start of our high profile campaign, we said we were determined to catch those who continued to flout the law and we kept that pledge.

"While we actively support the seasonal crack down on drink driving, it is worth stressing once more that we see drink driving as an ongoing problem and maintain a continuous campaign to deter motorists from drinking and driving and wrecking lives."

Comparative figures for the 1998/1999, 1999/2000 and 2000/2001 in the West Midlands are:

Total number of breath tests of drivers involved in collision  - 810, 711 and 650

Total number of those tests that were positive 54, 65, and 32

Total number of collisions resulting in injuries 278, 154 and 235

Chief Insp Dave Barratt of Warwickshire police added:

“To have 32 people charged or reported for drink driving offences over just 16 days is very disappointing.

“Warwickshire Police will continue to target those suspected of drink driving throughout the year and anyone flouting the law and who puts other road users at risk will be dealt with very firmly.

“Drink driving is dangerous, Even one driver over the limit is one driver too many.”

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CWN / Crimes, Fires & Accidents / West Midlands Police / 3 Jan 01
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