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Drink drivers targeted in Christmas campaign

More drink drivers will be facing the consequences of their actions following another successful drink and drug drive campaign in Dorset.

A total of 1086 breath tests were carried out by officers during the Christmas campaign, which ran between 1 December 2014 and 1 January 2015, compared to 1848 during the same time the previous year.

As in previous years, our Christmas drink-drive campaign saw officers breathalysing all drivers involved in collisions, stopped while committing a moving road traffic offence and anyone suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol. The Road Traffic Act does not permit random breath testing.

The Force recorded a total of 68 positive breath tests, equating to six per cent of all those breathalysed.

Every driver involved in a collision or stopped while committing a moving road traffic offence during the campaign was breath tested, irrespective of whether they were suspected of drink driving or not.

In total 371 breath tests were carried out following collisions, of these 20 were positive or the individual refused or failed to provide a sample. In 2013, 430 breath tests were carried out following collisions.

Dorset Police also focused activity on targeting known drink-drivers from intelligence or in response to information received from the public.

A total of 88 people were arrested during the campaign.

This year anyone charged with a drink or drug driving-related offence in Dorset during the campaign had their name and court appearance details released to the media.

In all, 35 people aged between 19 and 76 were charged during the campaign. Of these 29 were men and six were women.

Inspector Matt Butler, of Dorset Police’s Traffic Unit, said: “This campaign saw officers targeting known suspected drink drivers following information handed to us by the public.

“I am disappointed that there are still some motorists in Dorset who clearly think they are above the law and are willing to risk getting behind the wheel or on their bike after drinking.

“There are many consequences of drink-driving. You risk being caught by the police, appearing in court and losing your licence. You risk being involved in a collision which could result in serious or even fatal injuries. You also put innocent lives at risk.”

If someone is caught drink driving, they will face a minimum 12 month driving ban, a criminal record, up to six months in prison and a fine of up to £5,000.

Inspector Butler continued: “I urge anyone who suspects someone is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs to call 999 immediately so police can intercept or call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 with non-urgent information.”

Chief Inspector Debbie Marsden, Head of Operations at Dorset Police, said: “It is positive that there were 59 fewer breath tests carried out following accidents during the 2014 campaign than the year before – reducing casualties on our roads is a Force priority.

“I would also like to thank all those members of the public who took the time to call us with details of suspected drink or drug drivers. Your information is invaluable.

“While the total number of breath tests administered during the 2014 campaign is down from the previous year – it is in line with the national trend. The 2014 Christmas drink drive campaign saw a total of 133,996 breath tests administered in England and Wales, compared to the 191,040 administered in 2013.

“Dorset Police is committed to tackling drink and drug driving and our officers will be out targeting those people who continue to flout the law throughout the whole of 2015.

“Our dedicated ‘no excuse’ team is working seven days a week to reduce collisions on our roads. They use a combination of education and enforcement activity across Dorset in a bid to tackle the ‘fatal five’: drink and drug driving, excessive and inappropriate speed, not wearing a seatbelt, driver distractions such as using a hand-held mobile phone and careless driving.”

Issued: 23 January 2015