Huge rise in number of drivers breath-tested by Humberside Police over festive period
POLICE dramatically increased the number of people they breath-tested as part of the Christmas anti-drink-drive campaign.
Humberside Police carried out 979 breath tests in North Lincolnshire in November and December 2012, compared to 754 tests in the same period of 2011.
Of the 979 tests, 42 were positive, or the motorist refused or failed to provide a sample.
PC Barry Gardner, casualty reduction officer at the force, said police were more rigorous in their approach this time.
He said: "Any time we had a legal power to demand a breath test, we used it. That is not to say we wouldn't do it at other times, but we were especially vigilant.
"We conducted static checks in locations where historically we have had collisions."
Police can demand a breath test in connection to any moving traffic offence.
PC Gardner said this power was used wherever possible, including where motorists were caught travelling at speeds just above the limit or with defective lights.
Eleven of the 225 tested who were aged under 25 either refused, failed to provide or provided positive tests.
This compared to 31 out of 754 people aged 25 and over.
PC Gardner said: "Drivers aged 17 to 25 are already at a far higher risk of being involved in a collision than those more experienced.
"By adding drink into the equation, this becomes a potentially deadly cocktail."
But he praised the majority of motorists who gave breath tests during the campaign.
PC Gardner said: "I would like to thank the hundreds of drivers our officers met who provided negative tests at the roadside and in general appreciated our efforts during this campaign.
"There are, in my opinion, positives and negatives when looking at the figures.
"The positive is we have caught and dealt with 42 offending drivers.
"The negative is the fact that these drivers were out there.
"And despite all the publicity surrounding these campaigns, they were willing to gamble their own and others' safety by getting behind the wheel having drunk alcohol."
And PC Gardner moved to assure the public that police would continue to be tough on drink-drivers.
He said: "While the numbers we refer to here are for a particular campaign, I must stress this offence is something we are looking for every day of the year."