Page last updated at 11:54 GMT, Thursday, 21 January 2010

Drink-drivers risked bad weather

Almost 10% of drivers stopped during a festive campaign failed a breath test, according to Northumbria Police.

The force said during its month-long campaign in December, 1,012 drivers were stopped, of which 94 (9.2%) failed a breathalyser test.

During the same period in 2008, 2,255 drivers were tested and 148 (6.5%) proved positive.

Despite the percentage increase, the force said the figures showed the bad weather kept many drivers off the road.

However, chief inspector John Barnes said he remained concerned about a small number of drivers who tried to avoid detection.

Closed schools

He said: "The snow and ice in the second half of December had a perceptible impact on the number of drivers on the region's roads.

"With schools closed and drivers following our advice not to drive unless absolutely necessary the number of drivers stopped and breathalysed fell compared to previous years.

"Although it's encouraging that the majority of people who were stopped were heeding the drink drive message, there clearly remain a number of people who still think they won't get caught.

"Those who have failed drink drive tests are facing a minimum of a year's driving ban, a fine, huge increases in insurance premiums and difficulties in hiring cars.

"As a force we will continue to enforce the law in relation to drink driving as part of our everyday business. This tough stance is not just taken at Christmas but goes on for the entire year."

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