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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 January 2006, 11:52 GMT
Festive drink-drive figures out
Police on road check
Nearly 7% of the 133,136 tested were over the limit
More than 9,000 people were arrested in England and Wales for drink-driving over the festive period, say police.

The Association of Chief Police Officers said motorists continued to drive on alcohol and drugs despite the "substantial and well-publicised risk".

Numbers of drivers found to be over the limit after an accident fell slightly since last year, from 8.75% to 8.6%.

It is the first time the total number of breath tests for the four-week period - 133,136 - has been published.

Nearly 7% of those tested positive and were arrested.

There are no excuses for this behaviour
Chief Constable Meredydd Hughes, Acpo

Figures from Scotland and Northern Ireland showed increases in the number of positive tests on last year.

Separate figures for Wales also showed an increase in those found to be over the limit, from 4% last Christmas to 5.5% in 2004/05.

In England and Wales combined more than 15,000 drivers were tested for alcohol after collisions.

Acpo has previously only published the number of breath tests done following road accidents.

Drugs

A further 540 "fit to drive" tests - which is not a chemical test but an assessment by officers of a person's ability to drive - were carried out over Christmas and New Year on motorists suspected of driving on drugs.

A third of those were then arrested for drink or drug impairment offences, which Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police and Acpo road spokesman Meredydd Hughes called "worrying".

He said the number of people getting behind the wheel while on drugs was "increasing", particularly among young people.

"Driving impaired under the influence of drugs is no more acceptable than drink driving and will not be tolerated," he said.

Achievements 'stalled'

On drink driving Ch Cons Hughes said that despite more than 40 years of campaigning, some drivers still considered themselves above the law, and were prepared to put themselves and others at risk.

"There are no excuses for this behaviour.

"If people are confused about the amount of alcohol they can consume before driving, the advice is simple - do not drink at all if you are planning to drive."

Edmund King from the RAC Foundation said the figures were "extremely worrying" and called for more traffic police, better use of intelligence, and rapid police responses to the most dangerous motoring offenders.

"These figures are further proof that the downward trend in drink-drive figures achieved over two decades has now stalled," he said.

He also called for a media campaign to combat drug driving, particularly cannabis, which is the drug most commonly used by motorists.




SEE ALSO:
Hundreds on drink-driving charges
06 Jan 06 |  Northern Ireland
Drink-drive clampdown to continue
05 Jan 06 |  Scotland


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