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Drink Drive Test Failures Up Over Christmas

By raccars Published

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National roads police have released figures showing that the number of failed breathalyser tests taken over the Christmas period rose to its highest number since 2011. More than 4% of drink drive breath rests returned a positive result, which is being attributed to police using a different approach and targeting testing. Drivers under the age of 25 remain the most likely breath test failure candidates.

Police carried out 133,996 breath tests in December in England and Wales. 4.39% or 5,885 tests returned a positive result for excess alcohol consumption, compared to a result of 3.42% of positive tests in December 2013. The failure rate rose to 6.33% for under 25s.

A change in tactics by police saw the total number of breath tests conducted fall by 60,000 in December 2014 compared to the previous year.

Although the percentage of positive tests increased, a police spokesperson claims that anti-drink drive campaigns are hitting the mark but that an intelligence led approach is helping officers to be more efficient in their choice of targets for breath testing.

However, Merseyside Police, for example, arrested one in every 40 drivers taking breathalyser tests in September, that's 208 of over 8,000 tests, and also noted a rise in crashes. Fifty three drivers were arrested after a collision on the basis of drink driving. Analysis showed that while anti-drink driving campaigns appeared to have a positive effect, there was a distinct rise in drug driving incidents. A spokesperson for Merseyside Roads Policing Unit said the figures were encouraging, showing that 97% of motorists remained within the drink driving limit.

West Yorkshire Police carried out more breathalyser tests last year than in 2013 over Christmas but did note a decline in the number of test failures. In Derbyshire, over 13% of motorists breath tested in December returned a positive result, failed or refused to give a sample. The county launched a campaign in December in partnership with Crimestoppers, offering rewards to those who provided information leading to a driver being charged for being over the legal alcohol limit. However Derbyshire, unlike Merseyside, did report fewer road collisions in December 2014 compared to the previous year.

West Midlands Police reported a very good result for December 2014, with breath test failures 33% lower than the previous year. 225 or 11% of drivers tested produced a positive result, but December 2013 saw 363 test failures. Seventy seven of the drivers who failed the breath test did so after a collision.

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