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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 January 2007, 01:37 GMT
Festive drink-drive numbers drop
A police officer holding a breath test kit
A record 145,867 drivers were tested over Christmas
The number of people caught drink-driving in England and Wales dropped in the recent festive period, police chiefs have said.

In December, 145,867 drivers were tested and 9,658 - 6.6% - were over the limit, down from 6.9% in December 2005.

The Association of Chief Police Officers said a widely-publicised Christmas crackdown led to the drop.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) called for tougher government action on drink-drivers.

RoSPA's Duncan Vernon welcomed the increase in breath tests but said the figures were still "shocking".

"RoSPA would like to see the police given powers to breath test people anywhere and at any time," he said.

"Drivers who flout the law have to be made to realise that they are likely to be caught and punished."

Meredydd Hughes, Acpo's lead on road policing and chief constable of South Yorkshire Police, said the number of breath tests carried out had increased by almost 10% during "the most productive drink-drive campaign to date".

"The 9,658 drink-drivers breathalysed and arrested will be brought to justice and could face disqualification, a fine or imprisonment as a result of their choice to drink and drive," he added.

Acpo's Christmas campaign was a joint initiative with the Department for Transport.

Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander said: "These results demonstrate just how much importance both the government and police attach to the dangers of drink-driving."

Some 12,494 drivers were tested for alcohol after collisions, with 915 failing or refusing the test.


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