Thursday, 22 July 2010

Cumbria Police express concern as drink driving continues

Cumbria Constabulary has vowed to toughen its stance on drink drivers after the number of people caught over the limit rose for the second year running.

Every June, the Constabulary runs a summer drink drive campaign from 00:01 on the 1st June to 23:59 on the 30th. Officers target drink drivers throughout the year, but the statistics collated during the summer campaign provide an insight into trends and attitudes toward drink driving in Cumbria.

This year, 95 people were arrested after officers conducted 952 breath tests during the campaign, meaning 10 percent of those tested were either over the limit or failed to provide a test.

In 2009, 88 arrests were made after 1434 breath tests, meaning six percent of those tested were either over the limit or failed to provide a test.

In 2008, 49 arrests were made after 1341 breath tests, meaning less than four percent of those tested were either over the limit or failed to provide a test.

During the 2010 campaign, officers conducted fewer stop checks and breath tests than last year, but concentrated their efforts on areas where intelligence suggested people were more likely to be drink driving. This tactic worked, with a higher percentage of drink drivers being caught.

Expressing deep concern about the rise in offences, Chief Inspector Kevin Greenhow said: “The figures reveal an alarming reality - a significant number of people in Cumbria continue to think it is acceptable to get behind the wheel while they are over the drink drive limit.

“We work incredibly hard with our partners to get the message around the dangers of drink driving through to people but it seems that to some, the message falls on deaf ears.

“Our positive efforts to target and educate irresponsible drivers will continue but we need the help of the community to make drink driving socially unacceptable. We need individuals to realise that neither police or the communities in Cumbria will tolerate those who needlessly put the lives of innocent road users at risk. I would urge any member of the public with information about a drink-driver to contact the police, or Crimestoppers anonymously, in the same way they would about any other crime.”

Of the 95 people caught over the limit in June 2010, 23 followed road traffic collisions, proving beyond doubt the serious consequences of driving while impaired by alcohol. 21 of those who tested positive were under 25-yrs old and 74 were older, showing that a respect of the law does not necessarily come with age.

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