CHESHIRE Constabulary has released its winter drink and drug-driving results after a series of road safety initiatives conducted from November of last year.
These included targeting motorists who drive the morning after a night of drinking. Road safety messages were communicated via a series of measures to include engagement days and breathalyser checkpoints set up in specific areas to target motorists committing moving traffic offences.
This ran alongside a national campaign by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) to warn drivers that getting behind the wheel after a drink could see them end up behind bars.
According to police chiefs from ACPO, officers across the country carried out nearly 20,000 extra breath tests on Christmas drivers over the age of 25 and found a small percentage were failing.
In Cheshire the number of positive breath tests carried out across the force has noticeably reduced during 2011 and 2012, and indicates a drop in arrests from 5.7% in 2011 to 4.8% in 2012.
One of the main focuses of the ACPO winter campaign was on under-25s after research from 2011 showed drivers aged between 20 and 24 failed more breath tests than any other age group. In a bid to tackle the issue, police across the country breathalysed more than 1,000 extra drivers in this age category compared to 2011 and findings reveal there were 104 fewer young drivers failing tests compared to in 2011.
Assistant Chief Constable Ruth Purdie said: “By stepping up enforcement measures and utilising extra resources over Christmas, this has allowed us to identify those motorists who are still not heeding our ‘don’t drink and drive’ warnings.
“What is still clearly evident is the worrying trend that the younger generation are not showing compliance despite our continued road safety messages to consider the consequences of your actions and think before getting into a car after having drunk alcohol or taken drugs.”
As part of the enforcement measures, Cheshire police tested drivers for being under the influence of drugs. Across Cheshire, 26 field impairment tests were carried out, with eight arrests made, which carries a similar pattern from 2011. From the results, the average age of drug drivers is 28.
Road safety officer Dave Murray said: “Many young people I speak to genuinely believe certain drugs – mainly cannabis and stimulants – make you a safer driver; this is a myth.
“Drugs, like alcohol, have the capacity to distort your perception of things in all kinds of ways. One thing is certain, they definitely do not enhance your ability to carry out the complex task of driving, and they only make it more difficult and dangerous.”