In the Media

Officers carried out nearly 20,000 extra breath tests on Christmas drivers and found a smaller percentage were failing

PUBLISHED January 29, 2013

One of the main focuses of the ACPO campaign was on under 25s after research from 2011 showed drivers aged between 20 and 24 failed more breath tests than any other age group.
In a bid to tackle the issue police across the country breathalysed more than 1,000 extra drivers in this age category compared to 2011 and today's figures have shown there were 104 fewer young drivers failing tests compared to 2011. ( 2,074 in 2011 and 1,970 in 2012).

ACPO lead for Roads Policing, Deputy Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, said the figures were encouraging and officers would continue to clamp down on drink and drug driving throughout the year.
"It's good to see, that yet again the majority of drivers are responsible and sensible. Our results show that by far the majority of drivers stopped did not drink or take drugs and drive. Just over four per cent of the 175,000 drivers stopped went on to fail a test.

"We made it absolutely clear to drivers before Christmas that we would be stepping up our efforts to breathalyse them and we warned people against the dangers of drink and drug driving.
"It is encouraging to see the message has got through to even more drivers than last year.
"The results show the percentage of those failing tests under 25 has fallen compared with 2010 and 2011.
"But there is still a small but significant number who believe they can risk their own lives, and the lives of others, by driving under the influence and we will continue to focus on catching them."

Officers across the country also tested nearly 20,000 more drivers over the age of 25 and found 115 fewer people had failed. (118,119 in 2011 and 137,671 in 2012)

Police also tested drivers for being under the influence of drugs. The number of arrests made after a collision rose by 89 compared to 2011.

DCC Davenport added: "Police who work in this area are specially trained to identify drivers who are suspected of taking drugs and it is an extremely serious offence."

In incidents which did not involve a collision, nearly 18,000 more drivers were breathalysed compared with 2011 and despite the increase in tests, 234 fewer people tested positive, refused or failed.
However, drink driving continues to be a factor in collisions and the number of people who failed a breath test following a collision has risen.

DCC Davenport added: "This should act as another clear message to people that while police will use preventative measures and enforce the law, ultimately drivers must take responsibility and not drive while under the influence.
"In many cases when drivers are drunk or under the influence of drugs their reaction times are significantly decreased despite a feeling of being alert. It is this misconception in the minds of some drivers which contributes to a correlation between the number of collisions and those failing tests."

Road Safety Minister Stephen Hammond said: "Drinking and driving is incredibly dangerous and drivers should be in no doubt that if they get behind the wheel after drinking they risk losing their licence, as well as facing a fine and even a prison sentence.
"In addition, to help make it easier for the police to tackle the problem and protect law abiding road users we want to streamline enforcement and tighten the law so that drink drivers will have nowhere to hide.
"These figures show that the Police are cracking down on the irresponsible minority who continue to ignore the law."