Page last updated at 06:45 GMT, Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Drink-drive results 'disappoint'

Police
More than 600 drivers were arrested among the more than 36,000 tests

Police in Wales stopped almost twice as many drivers in the festive drink-drive crackdown compared to last year, latest figures from forces reveal.

Although the proportion of those who had been drink-driving had almost halved, police were still "disappointed" with the results.

More than 36,000 motorists were stopped from 1 December to 1 January, and more than 600 were arrested.

In the same period a year ago, 19,554 drivers were stopped and 587 arrested.

The festive drink-drive crackdown was launched in Caernarfon, Gwynedd, by North Wales Police chief constable Richard Brunstrom.

Figures released on Wednesday showed that across the North Wales Police area 10,749 breath tests were administered, which resulted in 142 arrests.

BREATH TESTS IN WALES
North Wales Police 10,749
Positive, refused or failed to provide 142
Dyfed-Powys Police 3,943
Positive, refused or failed to provide 177
South Wales Police 7,466
Positive, refused or failed to provide 207
Gwent Police 13,924
Positive, refused or failed to provide 126
Source: North Wales Police, 1 Dec 2008 - 1 Jan 2009

In 2007 North Wales Police carried out 6,986 breath tests which resulted in 145 positive results. In comparison, during the 2006 campaign 4,404 breath tests were administered with 144 being positive.

Chief Supt John Turton, of the force's operational support division, 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.

"People do not seem to have heeded the very real warnings about the dangers of drinking and driving - the drivers caught by officers throughout Wales have blatantly put their own lives and the lives of others at risk."

South Wales Police's road safety manager Wayne Tucker, said: "It is concerning that more than 200 motorists chose to ignore our warning which has resulted in them attending court, losing their driving licence and possibly their livelihood."

Transport Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones said: "Drink-driving ruins lives. Too many motorists are still not heeding this very clear message, so we will continue to work hard with the police to tackle this.

"The Christmas campaign resulted in more drivers being breathalysed in Wales than ever before, this shows just how seriously this issue is being taken."

Across forces in England and Wales, 25,000 more motorists were stopped in the campaign, leading to 9,148 arrests.

Gwent Police's chief constable Mick Giannasi, who is responsible for roads policing across England and Wales, said it was worrying some drivers see themselves as "above the law" and were willing to put lives at risk.

"Driving under the influence of any substance, whether it is alcohol or drugs is not acceptable.

"Alcohol and drugs can impair your ability to judge speed and distances, reduce concentration and delay reaction speed."

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