ACPO Data Reveals Fall In The Number Of Festive Drink Drivers
31st January 2014
Many people had been concerned that the Christmas period would see a huge number of drink and drug drivers. When the festive season rolls around, people can find themselves getting more intoxicated than they would normally allow themselves to get, and may get behind the wheel when in this condition. This poses an incredible and unacceptable health and safety risk, and can easily lead to fatal motor vehicle accidents.
Fortunately, drivers seem to be becoming increasingly sensible, with drink-drive rates on an almost perpetual decline. Figures from the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) underline this point by revealing that despite a rise in the number of people tested, the number of people arrested for drink or drug driving over the festive period underwent a further annual decline.
From November 29th 2013 to January 1st 2014, police officers performed a total of 191,040 breath tests, compared with 175,831 during the same timeframe a year prior. Of these, 6,550 either refused to take the test, failed to take the test or gave a positive sample, compared with 7,123 in 2012, or an 8% fall in total.
Of those who refused, failed or gave a positive reading, a total of 1,709 were tested after a road traffic accident.
Furthermore, officers conducted 513 Field Impairment Tests, which are used to identify potential drug-drivers. Of these, 143 led to an arrest. In 2012’s Christmas Crackdown, just 360 people received a Field Impairment Test and 77 failed.
Chief Constable Suzette Davenport said she was pleased to see that the anti-drug and drink-driving messages the police force “relentlessly” issues every year appear to have had an impact over Christmas 2013, describing the reduction in offenders combined with the rise in testing as “particularly gratifying”.
However, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) expressed its disappointment with ACPO’s statistics, nothing that they revealed an average of 200 people were arrested for drink driving offenses every day during the Christmas road safety initiative.
RoSPA Head of Road Safety Kevin Clinton said that it is “worrying” some drivers are still deciding to get behind the wheel when they are over the drink-drive limit.
He called on the government to lower the drink-drive limit to 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, compared with its current proportion of 80mg per 100ml. Scotland and Northern Ireland have already approved these reductions, but Westminster has not yet done so.
Drink driving injuries can be utterly devastating and can completely transform a person’s life, while every year, hundreds of people lose their lives as a result of drink-drivers. RoSPA have a point – while ACPO’s figures may be welcome, one drink drive accident every year is one too many, and it is unacceptable that so many motorists still drive while drunk.