More than 6,600 arrested during Christmas drink and drug driving campaign
Whilst the number of people tested dropped by 24% on last year and the number of people found to be under the influence of drink or drugs dropped in comparison to last year by 13%, forces have attributed the reduction in the level of testing to the bad weather. Despite that, the numbers tested and the numbers who were positive were still higher than in 2008.
ACPO lead for roads policing, chief constable Mick Giannasi, said: 'Given the exceptional road and weather conditions which we experienced in December, forces across the country reported a significant reduction in the number of people using the roads. Understandably, in those conditions, we were not able to conduct as many tests as we did last year. Despite that, there were still 6,613 people who chose to put the lives of others at risk by driving under the influence of drink and drugs. That is not only socially irresponsible; it will also have consequences for those who were caught. All of them now face a lengthy driving ban, some will face imprisonment and many will already have lost their jobs and their livelihoods.'
The campaign ran from 1 December 2010 to 1 January 2011 with officers from 43 forces throughout England and Wales testing drivers at all times of the day and night. A range of tactics were used from high profile roadside operations to intelligence led targeting of suspected drink and drug drivers identified by members of the public through confidential helplines.
The statistics also once again reveal that those who have been drinking and then drive are more likely to be involved in an accident - 7% (1,727 people) of those breath tested after a collision were arrested. The number of people testing positive for drugs increased to 20% of those tested.
Mr Giannasi said: 'The Government has announced the introduction of drug testing devices in police stations which will make the current process of detecting drug drivers simpler and more effective.
'However, the longer-term challenge is to develop a device which will enable officers to test motorists suspected of drug driving at the roadside and we are pleased to see that the Government has made a commitment to undertake the research which will bring that about. In the meantime, we will continue to make the best use of the FIT testing procedure, which remains an effective, if not cumbersome, way of identifying those who are impaired by drugs.'