Drink drive numbers soar

SOARING numbers of motorists have been arrested for drinking and driving on Suffolk's roads this year, it can be revealed today.More than 1,300 people have been caught flouting the law in just 11 months, signalling a sharp rise on the figures for 2003.

SOARING numbers of motorists have been arrested for drinking and driving on Suffolk's roads this year, it can be revealed today.

More than 1,300 people have been caught flouting the law in just 11 months, signalling a sharp rise on the figures for 2003.

Up to the same period last year, 140 fewer motorists had been caught behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol.

The shock news comes as the Evening Star kicks off its annual Name and Shame campaign.


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For the last ten years we have covered every court case of every drink driver during the Christmas months and shamed those people in our pages.

And from tomorrow we will be in court ready to shame those who think their crimes can be hidden.

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Thousands of people every year are killed or injured on the roads as a result of people drinking and driving.

Chief inspector Alan Pawsey, of Suffolk police's road traffic unit, said he was "disappointed" by the figures.

He said: "There's still a lot of people out there who are drinking and driving. On the one hand, I'm disappointed some of them haven't got the message but I'm also pleased police officers are out there catching people who are drinking and driving.

"They're going to wreck someone else's life and they could wreck their own by committing this offence. If they're caught it would mean a driving ban and a heavy fine at the very least."

But chf insp Pawsey said driving home the message to certain motorists is proving difficult.

He said: "People drink and drive for one of two reasons. One is they don't sign up to the idea it's not an unsafe option, while the other group doesn't think they'll get caught.

"What we're demonstrating in Suffolk is there's quite a risk that you will get caught. For us, our campaign against drink driving is a 365 day a year operation."

John Knight, of the Campaign Against Drink Driving, said education could be the key to stamping out the issue.

He said: "One problem is drink driving isn't really covered in schools.

"When teenagers are thinking about driving it would be sensible and useful if they covered the issue in class.

"In addition, the courts should act as more of a deterrent by passing down harsher penalties. Too often they're too lenient."

Meanwhile, a new survey has revealed Britons would back a change in the law to make passengers who knowingly travel in a car with a drunk driver liable for

prosecution.

Research by car insurer Zurich found more than half of those surveyed (54 per cent) would welcome tougher laws.

WEBLINKS

www.thinkroadsafety.gov.uk

www.fmg.org.uk

FACTFILE

Each year, an average of 3,000 people are killed or seriously injured in drink drive collisions.

Nearly one in six of all deaths in road crashes involve drivers who are over the legal alcohol limit.

The legal limit in the UK is 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood, but there is no failsafe guide as to how much you can drink and stay under the limit. It can depend on many factors such as the amount and type of alcoholic drink, your weight, sex, age, food intake and metabolism.

The penalty if convicted of drink driving is losing your licence for 12 months. You could also face a maximum fine of £5,000 and up to six months in prison.

Convicted drink drivers pay up to three times as much for their car insurance.

It's impossible to speed up how fast the body gets rid of alcohol, a shower, a cup of coffee or other ways of 'sobering up' will not help. It just takes time.

The penalty for refusing to provide a specimen of breath, blood or urine for analysis is a maximum 6 months' imprisonment, up to £5000 fine and a driving ban of at least 12 months.

SOURCE: www.thinkroadsafety.gov.uk

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