Motorists issued drink-drive warning as police gear up for summer crackdown

Motorists issued drink-drive warning as police gear up for summer crackdown
Motorists issued drink-drive warning as police gear up for summer crackdown

Drivers have been warned to expect increased drink-driving checks from police in coming weeks as forces begin their annual summer crackdown.

June is the busiest month for roadside breath tests apart from December, with the number of checks 50 per cent higher than any other month.

Arrests

Police breathalysed 36,041 drivers in England and Wales in June 2017 (the latest year for which figures are available). This compares with a monthly average of 23,840 across the rest of the year, excluding the Christmas period.

Watch: Worrying hidden camera footage shows 3 in 4 Britons will help a drunk driver into their car

According to government data, almost one in ten motorists (3,275) tested positive in last June’s crackdown and was arrested.

In Scotland, where blood alcohol limits are lower, a similar two-week crackdown in June-July 2018 saw 4,500 drivers tested, with 195 over the limit.

Deaths

Almost 300 died in crashes where at least one driver was over the limit in 2017. (Picture: Shutterstock)

The annual crackdown comes as the number of people killed in crashes where the driver was over the limit has risen 45 per cent in two years.

Department for Transport Figures released in February suggested there were 290 such deaths in 2017 – compared with 200 in 2015 – making it the worst year since 2009.

The rise in deaths in 2017 came at the same time as drink-drive-related arrests fell to their lowest level since 2008.

Regional variations

Drivers in Merseyside were the most likely to be stopped in June 2017, with 3,010 breathalysed in 2017, followed by Hampshire (2,532) and Thames Valley (2,265).

Wales was also a hot spot with 2,178 breath tests in South Wales and 1,952 in North Wales.

Read more: Drink-drive danger zones – where does your region rank?

Hunter Abbott, managing director of breathalyser firm AlcoSense Laboratories commented: “The police always focus on June as, statistically, it’s a drink drive hotspot.

“With warmer weather, sporting events and barbeques, June is a month when motorists are more likely to unintentionally drink drive the morning after socialising – posing a risk to themselves and other road users.”

New breathalysers

The Government wants to introduce more sophisticated equipment next year. (Picture: Shutterstock)

The Government has said that it plans to introduce new breathalysers by 2020 which will help catch more drunk drivers at the scene. Currently, after a roadside test a driver must be taken to a police station where they undergo further tests for proof of being over the limit.

The new mobile “evidential” units will allow officers to gather on-the-spot proof of drink-driving.

A report last year found that 90 per cent of people would support the installation of in-car breathalysers to stop drunk-drivers from starting their vehicle.

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