Drink drive numbers hit 5-year high

THE number of motorists ignoring the drink-drive laws in Essex during the Christmas period has hit a five-year high. The results have been branded as "disappointing" by the county's police force and came despite a high profile campaign aimed at highlighting the immense dangers involved.

THE number of motorists ignoring the drink-drive laws in Essex during the Christmas period has hit a five-year high.

The results have been branded as "disappointing" by the county's police force and came despite a high profile campaign aimed at highlighting the immense dangers involved.

Of the 6,414 drivers tested, 264 provided a positive breath specimen representing 4.1% of the total, compared to 3.4% last year.

Another 25 refused or failed to provide a specimen and 23 motorists were arrested on suspicion of driving whilst under the influence of drugs.

Five years ago the figure was as low as 2.3%, but Essex Police remain determined to rid the roads of the remaining lawbreakers.

Inspector Nick Burston said those drivers failing tests had the attitude they were above the law.

Most Read

He said: "This set of figures, in comparison to last year's, show an increase in the number of drink-drivers here in Essex.

"This disappoints me as there is a significant proportion of the motoring public that is continuing to blatantly break the law. It is extremely disconcerting that, despite numerous publicity campaigns, drivers still consciously choose to put themselves and other members of society at risk."

Simon Burns, MP for Chelmsford West, said the results were a bitter blow for all those who used the roads legally.

"This is very bad news for road safety and for responsible drivers who are often the unwitting victims of drink-drive accidents.

"The police have had a high profile campaign to bring home the dangers and the wrongs of drink- driving and this must come as a bitter blow, unless it is because the police have been more successful in stopping and apprehending drink drivers.

"It is very disappointing that the number of people has risen so dramatically since 1998."

Four drivers in the county were arrested on Christmas Day morning including one woman who was found slumped in her car after an accident.

The results, per division, included: Bocking Road Policing Unit (RPU) 420 tests, 11 positive; Braintree, 129 tests, 15 positive results; Chelmsford division, 173 tests, nine positive; Chelmsford Road Policing Unit (RPU) 1,048 tests, 22 positive, Colchester, 53 tests, three positive; Stanway RPU, 966 tests, 28 positives; Tendring division, 372 stopped, 14 positives.

Essex drink-drive figures.

Tests Taken Positives Percentage positives.

December 2003 6,414 264 4.1%

December 2002 6,591 225 3.4%

December 2001 7,147 265 3.7%

December 2000 12,363 361 2.9%

December 1999 6,749 209 3.1%

December 1998 13,231 317 2.3%

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter