Nearly one in six motorists breathalysed failed drink-drive tests last year, figures reveal

PUBLISHED: 19:00 28 October 2020 | UPDATED: 08:15 29 October 2020

Nearly one in six drivers breathalysed by Suffolk police in 2019/20 failed the test Picture: ARCHANT

Nearly one in six drivers breathalysed by Suffolk police in 2019/20 failed the test Picture: ARCHANT

Nearly one in six drivers given roadside alcohol breath tests in Suffolk last year failed or refused to provide a specimen, Home Office figures have revealed.

In the year ending March 31, 2020, Suffolk Constabulary carried out 4,500 tests and 703 people (16%) tested positive for alcohol or failed to provide a breath specimen for analysis.

The percentage of positive tests and refusals in Suffolk is in-line with the national average (16%) during 2019/20.

Nationally, the released figures showed the number of roadside breath tests are at their lowest point since 2002.

A total of 285,380 tests were conducted across the country last year compared to 481,561 in 2002 and 322,769 in 2018. The 2018/19 statistics for Suffolk were not available.

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A spokesman for Suffolk police said drink-drivers are targeted in the county all-year round and urged motorists not to take the risk.

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“It’s always disappointing to see that people are still prepared to take the risk and get behind the wheel under the influence of drink, although it is a minority,” the spokesman said.

“We target drink drivers all-year round and our plea to motorists considering getting behind the wheel after drinking is don’t – it’s simply not worth the risk.

“Motorists should remember that driving under the influence of alcohol impairs your judgement, making your reactions slower and therefore increases the chances of you being involved in a collision.

“Anyone convicted of drink or drug driving offences face losing their licence, a fine and possibly a jail term. Convictions may also continue to impact on them throughout their personal and professional lives.”

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Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore said testing for drink and drug driving has not been reduced in the county.

“Since I have been Suffolk’s PCC there has been increased investment in roads policing because keeping the network safe for all users and the traffic flowing is a top priority in Suffolk,” he said.

“Despite all the publicity around the fatal four causes of deaths on our roads we are still finding far too many motorists breaking the law by driving under the influence of drink or drugs, not wearing a seatbelt, speeding or using their mobile phone.

“Testing for drink and drug driving has not been reduced at all because it is dangerous, selfish and illegal and can cause death and serious injury, often to innocent people.”

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