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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 January 2008, 09:57 GMT
Festive drink-driving falls again
Breath test
The highest level of drink-driving was in the Gwent Police area
Just three in 100 motorists stopped for a breath test during the festive season in Wales were over the alcohol limit.

The total of 3% represents another drop in the drink-drive rate, down from 5.2% in the same period last year.

A total of 19,554 drivers were stopped during December and the start of January, with 587 failing breath tests. One in three was aged under 25.

Police said while the figures were positive, nearly 600 continued to ignore the drink-drive message.

Insp Carwyn Evans of South Wales Police said: "These statistics, however, are still too high, and there is no room for complacency.

Public opinion is very much in support of our high-profile approach to this anti-drink-drugs driving campaign
Chief Supt Geraint Anwyl

"It is unacceptable that nearly 600 drivers have chosen to continue to ignore the message, acting without consideration for their own safety and the safety of other innocent road users."

The highest level of drink-driving was in the Gwent Police area, where 4.7% of drivers tested positive, while the lowest was in north Wales, at 2.1%.

Chief Supt Geraint Anwyl said: "Public opinion is very much in support of our high-profile approach to this anti-drink-drugs driving campaign.

"It is pleasing to note that in percentage terms the number of positive tests have reduced to 2% during this campaign compared to a 3% positive to negative ratio in 2006."

DRINK-DRIVE CAMPAIGN 2007
North Wales: 6,986 tests, 145 positive (2.1%)
South Wales: 5,901 tests, 209 positive (3.5%)
Gwent: 3,136 tests, 147 positive (4.7%)
Dyfed-Powys: 3,531 tests, 86 positive (2.4%)

Source: Welsh police forces

The Welsh police forces launched their annual festive crackdown on 3 December, warning motorists that they could face a breath test on the roadside at any time of the day or night.

This year, patrols stopped an extra 5,300 drivers, in what they described as a "zero-tolerance approach" to drinking and driving.

But despite the drop in overall arrests, police said they remained concerned at the number of younger drivers who were caught over the alcohol limit.

"On average, 35% of the drink-drivers were under 25 years old," noted Insp Evans.

"Inexperienced driving coupled with alcohol is a very dangerous concoction which will lead to tragic deaths."

Officers also made 23 arrests during the festive period for driving under the influence of drugs.

Jean Collingwood of the Drinkaware Trust, a body backed by the alcohol industry, said: "We are committed to the promotion of responsible drinking in the UK and support all and any measures that will help bring about this kind of positive change in terms of helping consumers, reach and make better informed choices.

"Drinkaware is dedicated to delivering effective education programmes that centre on promoting a culture of personal responsibility, as part of a wider social community and in order to bring about lasting change."

Were you breathalysed over Christmas, or do you know anyone who was? Let us know your experiences using the form below.

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Your comments:

It's all well and good that festive drink driving convictions have dropped on previous years, but it doesn't seem to be advertised or implemented as much through the rest of the year.
Dan, Gwent

I was stopped on the way to a supermarket at 12.30 in the afternoon on the 18th of December they had changed the road layout and were stopping every car that entered this very busy retail park incorrectly there were dozens of vehicles being stopped at the time if not hundreds by the end of the day so do these figures hold any true reflection if it was early in the morning I could understand as they would catch people over the limit from the night before but midweek and lunchtime and afternoon I beleive that this exercise was a total waste of time and therefore these figures are worthless and don't show a true reflection of actual drink divers as I don't imagine that they caught anyone during that exercise and that it was a waste of resources considering that they had four or five squad cars conducting this exercise
llanelli

A friend of mine told me that when the police were stopping people on the way into Cardiff, one person would spot them and immediately warn others who were under the influence the night before. They would then divert and find an alternate route into Cardiff, or even turn around and go home to sleep off the effects.

It seems from these statistics that the deterrent isn't working and the problem is cultural.

If there was a satisfactory public transport system, people wouldn't take what they consider is an acceptable risk. I mean stopping a total of almost 20,000 vehicles in a country of 3 million people over the entire holiday period isn't going to deter people greatly.
Pete, London



SEE ALSO
Ex-Street star in drink-drive ban
14 Jan 08 |  North West Wales
Fall in Christmas drink-drivers
16 Jan 07 |  North East Wales

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