Police forces across England and Wales have collated their drink drive statistics for the festive period. In December 2010, due to the extreme wintry weather conditions, officers stopped and tested 170,000 motorists. For the same period a year earlier they did the same with a total of 223,000 drivers.
On average arrests were slightly up last year at just below four per cent of all those stopped. However, police sources say this was not a dramatic increase. Association of Chief Police Officers’ road policing spokesperson, Chief Constable Mick Giannasi, said it was still unacceptable that in such poor weather conditions that there were drivers prepared to risk the lives of others as well as their own.
Of those subjected to drink and drug testing, 6,613 were placed under arrest. This works out at around 200 drivers being caught breaking the law each day during December. Giannasi explained that many of these motorists not only faced a driving ban, but time behind bars and potentially losing their jobs.
Police across the UK used various tactics to apprehend drivers who had either had too much to drink or had taken illegal substances. These included acting on tip-offs from the public and stopping vehicles at random.
Although officers can tell quickly if a driver is over the permitted alcohol limit by using a breathalyser, there is still no similar device to tell whether a motorist has taken illegal drugs. The Home Office is in talks with various firms about developing such a device to be used at the roadside as well as in police stations.