Bad weather hampers breath tests

POLICE have today revealed a reduction in drink-drivers over Christmas … but the percentage of drunken motorists is still double that of 2007.

SUFFOLK: POLICE have today revealed a reduction in drink-drivers over Christmas … but the percentage of drunken motorists is still double that of 2007.

Officers carrying out their annual December crackdown said they were also hampered by the snow which accounted for a drastic drop in the number of breath tests carried out.

Only 1,416 tests were conducted in 2009, compared with 3,069 in 2007 and 3,858 in 2008.

The results of the festive anti-drink drive campaign in 2009 show a decrease in positive results of 1.3 per cent, compared to the previous year.

Nearly seven per cent (95 positive breath tests) of motorists tested last month were over the legal alcohol limit.

The figure compares eight per cent (310) the previous year and three per cent (94) in 2007.

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Chief Inspector Mike Bacon, of the Roads Policing Unit, said: “Obviously it is encouraging that the overall percentage of those drink-driving has reduced (since 2008). However, these statistics are still too high and there is no room for complacency.

“Those offending need to realise the implications of what they are doing, not just for their own sake but for the sake of the other innocent road users they are putting at risk.

“We are determined to continue to clamp down on those who drink drive and will take action against anyone committing an offence. The message is simple - if you drink, don't drive.”

Ch insp Bacon added that the bad weather in the latter part of December had made it difficult for officers.

He said: “As is the nature of policing, operations can be effected by many things. The adverse weather throughout Suffolk in December meant that officers - and Roads Policing officers in particular - were frequently required to deal with an increase in incidents caused by the difficult conditions.

“This resulted in a number of planned drink drive road checks being cancelled. Therefore the number of breath tests conducted during this winter's Christmas drink drive campaign was not as high as in previous years.”

Last month 4.4pc of all drivers tested in the under 25 years old age group provided a positive breath test compared with 7.1pc aged 25-44 years, 3.2pc aged 45-64 and 7.5pc aged over 65 years.

Anyone who suspects someone of drink-driving is asked to report them immediately to the police or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or write to Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN>

See Comment page 6.

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