Almost 3 per cent of motorists drove 'under the influence' over festive season (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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Almost 3 per cent of motorists drove 'under the influence' over festive season
NEW figures show that 2.8 per cent of motorists on Cumbria's roads drove while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The results of the annual crackdown on drink and drugs driving from December 1 to January 1 were released today (Thursday).
Across the county, 2,865 people were breath tested during this period and the total number of people who either tested positive, failed or refused to provide a test was 82, which equates to 2.8 per cent.
In the same period in 2012, 3,345 breath tests were conducted, of which 88 either positive or failed or refused.
Sgt Joanne Walker, who led the campaign, said: “The number of people who were stopped and tested was slightly lower this year which could be an indication that there were less drivers on the road who officers suspected to be driving whilst under the influence of alcohol.
“However, it is still disappointing that 2.8 per cent of those who were stopped were found to be under the influence of alcohol. We cannot over emphasise the risk that people take with their lives and the lives of other road uses when driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.”
The campaign also focused on drivers under the age of 25, following last years figures for the whole of the county which showed drivers aged between 20 and 24 failed more breath tests than any other age group.
In Cumbria, those who were stopped during this campaign, 627 where aged under 25 and 21 drivers tested positive or failed or refused a test. The remaining 2238, who were over 25, 61 of those tested positive, failed or refused a test.
Sgt Walker continued: “To see 3.3% of those under the age of 25 driving whilst under the influence of alcohol is shocking. While is appears to be a low figure, it is still 21 drivers who were willing to take a risk at ruining their lives.
“In 2013 we will continue to target drink and drug drivers in an effort to make our roads as safe as possible."
Assistant chief constable Jeremy Graham said: “Cumbria Constabulary is dedicated in making our county’s roads as safe as possible for everyone living or visiting the region.
“The fact that people still take unnecessary risks with their own lives and the lives of those around them by getting behind a wheel of a car when under the influence of alcohol is disappointing and we will not tolerate those who put others at risk.
“The penalties for drink and drug driving include fines, the loss of driving licences and even prison, but these are nothing compared to the risk of injury and loss of life that rises steeply when motorist’s reactions are impaired by alcohol or drugs."
Police have asked people who suspect that someone is drink driving to contact police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.