Message starts to get through

MOTORISTS are beginning to pay heed to warnings they face tough penalties for drink driving this Christmas, new figures revealed.Early results of Suffolk Police's festive drink drive blitz have revealed that the number of drivers tested in the lead-up to Christmas increased this year but the number found to have been over the limit has nearly halved.

MOTORISTS are beginning to pay heed to warnings they face tough penalties for drink driving this Christmas, new figures revealed.

Early results of Suffolk Police's festive drink drive blitz have revealed that the number of drivers tested in the lead-up to Christmas increased this year but the number found to have been over the limit has nearly halved.

That news has led police chiefs to suggest that the message on drink driving is finally hitting home.

From 6am on December 18 to 6am yesterday on Thursday 361 people were asked by police to provide a breath sample.

Of those 12, or 3.3 per cent, tested positive for alcohol at the scene.

During the same period last year a total of 330 people were asked to provide breath samples and 21 of those tested positive for excess alcohol.

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Chief Inspector Alan Pawsey, of Suffolk's Road Policing Unit, said: "The people of Suffolk can be assured that we are making every effort to get drivers whose reactions are adversely affected by drink or drugs off our roads.

"Early results seem to indicate that the message on drink driving may be getting through.

"Fewer drivers seem to be willing to risk taking to the roads when they have had a drink."

Four of those who gave positive readings in this year's drink drive blitz were tested at the scene of a collision and three of those collisions resulted in injuries to some of those involved.

Two of the drink drivers were caught after being stopped for committing traffic offences while the remaining six were all caught when officers suspected from their manner of driving that they had been drinking.

"We have stopped even more drivers this year than at the same time last year and have found that fewer had been drinking," Ch Insp Pawsey added.

"While this is very encouraging, we think that one drink driver on the road is one too many.

"We want everyone to get home safely this Christmas. Our message is simple, if you have a drink or take drugs (including prescription medicine that carries a warning about driving) then don't drive.

"Remember alcohol and drugs can still be in your body and impair your ability to drive a considerable time after they are consumed; if you think you can drink until 3am and drive at 8am, you could be in for a shock."

Police have also appealed for people who walk home after having a drink this Christmas to take extra care.

They have advised them to walk facing oncoming traffic, to use well-lit roads with footpaths and to wear light coloured, preferably reflective outer clothing to ensure that they can be seen.

Throughout the holiday period The Evening Star is running its annual Name and Shame campaign, to highlight the dangers of drink driving.

Working with the police and local pubs and clubs, which are displaying posters urging customers to act responsibly, we are spreading the safe driving message.

Weblink: www.suffolk.police.uk

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