Drink driving concerns as 1 in 10 North Staffordshire motorists fail Christmas breath tests
MORE than one in 10 motorists failed roadside breath tests in Staffordshire over the festive period – after police called for more residents to report drink drivers.
Staffordshire Police arrested 192 motorists on suspicion of drink driving after testing 1,721 people between December 1 and January 1 – a failure rate of 11.2 per cent.
That is a significant increase on Christmas 2011 when just 150 out of 2,320 drivers, or 6.47 per cent, failed breath tests over the same period.
The proportion of failed December tests has been around six per cent over the last five years – falling as low as 4.37 per cent in 2008, when just 80 out of 1,832 people were arrested.
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Drink-driving cases at North Staffordshire Justice Centre yesterday included:
Self-employed bricklayer David Edwards, aged 41, of Bond Street, Tunstall, who has been hit with a 20-month driving ban after being almost two-and-a-half times the alcohol limit when stopped in Abbey Hulton on Christmas Day;
Sheet metal worker Andrew Dudley who shredded his driving licence in shame after being caught more than twice the drink-drive limit in Tunstall on New Year's Day. The 41-year-old, of Petersfield Road, Chell, has been handed a 23-month ban.
Police mostly carry out breath tests following accidents and during targeted stop checks, with drivers failing if they provide a positive sample or refuse to provide one.
Staffordshire Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis, pictured below, today put the increase in positive tests down to improved intelligence.
He said: "There has been a big drive to encourage people to tell the police when they believe someone is drink driving. This has been massively successful. Better intelligence has led to more people being caught.
"Ideally, if people believe someone has had too much to drink they should stop them from driving, but if that fails they should report them to the police. If that results in more people being arrested for drink-driving, I am content with that."
Not all the arrested drivers would necessarily have been charged, as some may have passed the second test at a police station.
Sergeant Rob Gilligan, from Staffordshire Police's road policing team, said: "The percentage of motorists testing positive has risen since last year, showing that we have caught more people drink driving in the county.
"Drink or drug driving can have devastating consequences. It is against the law, anti-social and ruins lives and families.
"Being arrested at the roadside, being taken to a police station and leaving passengers wondering how they were getting home will hopefully have a lasting effect on those drivers and hopefully change their attitude towards drink driving.
"We will continue to carry out breath tests throughout the year."