Page last updated at 06:49 GMT, Thursday, 21 January 2010

More tested during Christmas drink-driving campaign

Some of the forces carried out random breath-testing

The Welsh police forces' campaign to cut drink-driving during the Christmas period saw more drivers tested than ever before, figures have shown.

Nearly 55,000 drivers were stopped across Wales in December, almost 20,000 more than the previous year.

The campaign launch was supported by a teenager left paralysed in a car crash where the driver was over the limit. Three other teenagers were killed.

A total of 637 people were arrested, or 1.16% of the total.

Gwent Police said they were encouraged that despite the rise in numbers tested in their area, only 0.4% tested positive.

Their statistics showed those under 25 years of age were more likely to return a positive test (0.8%) compared to 0.5% of those over 25.

Force statistics
North Wales Police 16,398 tested, 131 arrests
Gwent Police 20,578 tested, 80 arrests
Dyfed-Powys Police 10,863 tested, 141 arrests
South Wales Police 6,956 tested, 285 arrests

Source: North Wales Police

Gwent Chief Constable Mick Giannasi said: "I am encouraged by the low percentage of positive breath tests returned.

"I am even more encouraged because, of the thousands of motorists stopped by Gwent officers, they were overwhelmingly supportive of the campaign and only a small minority were found to be still drinking and driving, prepared to break the law and risk taking their own life or that of another."

Det Ch Con Ian Shannon from North Wales Police said: "It is disappointing that drivers still put their own lives and other road users' lives at risk, just to have a drink, with over 600 people caught over the drink-drive limit throughout Wales during the month-long campaign.

"We will continue to target drink and drug drivers throughout the year. Our enforcement is not seasonal.

"There has been public support for this approach, and together we can help make our roads safer for all."

South Wales Police had the highest arrest to test ratio, with 4% of those tested being arrested.

Safety manager Wayne Tucker said: "It is disappointing that a significant number of drivers, including young people, are ignoring the message that drink driving kills and ruins lives."

Death by dangerous driving

At the launch in Caernarfon last month, a video interview with 18-year-old Stacey Williams was screened.

Ms Williams is paralysed from the neck down following a car crash in February 2009 where the driver Richard Brown, 24, of Newborough, Anglesey, had been drinking.

Rebecca Lee, 18, who was 14 weeks pregnant, triplet Elin Rowlands, 15, both of Bangor, and Clifford Jones, 17, from Malltraeth, died in the crash.

Ms Williams said her life had been ruined by the crash, and urged training for young people to recognise the signs of drunkenness, saying Brown had not appeared over the limit to her.

Brown was jailed for 10 years for causing death by dangerous driving and driving under the influence of alcohol.

Transport Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones said: "We are determined to do everything we can to make the roads of Wales safer; however we cannot do this alone.

"We need the support of the public to be able to make a real impact. I urge everyone to play their part - drink-drive limits cannot be calculated and the only safe way is for you not to drink and drive."

Print Sponsor

Paralysis victim's crash despair
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