Number of drink drivers increases

ESSEX Police has warned it will continue its drink drive crackdown into 2009 after an increase in the number of motorists caught over the limit during the festive period.

Annie Davidson

ESSEX Police has warned it will continue its drink drive crackdown into 2009 after an increase in the number of motorists caught over the limit during the festive period.

Statistics for the 2008 drink drive campaign so far have shown that of 3,966 drivers stopped in the county during three weeks in December, there were 116 who gave positive breath tests.

This amounted to a total of 3% of the drivers stopped - compared to 2% at the same point last year.


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An Essex Police spokesman said the figures were “very disappointing and disturbing” - and vowed that the force would continue targeting drink drivers into the New Year.

He also warned about the dangers of driving first thing in the morning if people had been drinking the night before.

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“This is very disappointing and disturbing that motorists do not appear to be listening to what we are saying - especially considering all the publicity and all the high profile fatal drink driving road crashes this year elsewhere in the country,” he said. “People should also be mindful that if they are driving first thing in the morning they should be careful how much they are drinking the night before.

“We are also looking to breath-test people in the morning, many people still do not realise that a late night heavy drinking session can have an impact on their blood alcohol level the following day.

“There can be a misjudged belief that you can 'sleep off' a heavy bingeing session and still be alright to get behind the wheel of a car in the morning but the only thing that eliminates alcohol from your blood is time.

“Drink drivers do not just put their own lives at risk, they also put other people's lives at risk and can ruin other lives by their actions.”

During the run up to Christmas, the Essex Casualty Reduction Board ran a campaign reminding drivers of the danger of drink driving.

Initiatives included adverts on the radio, banners displayed on public buildings such as fire stations, reminders on posters and beer mats in pubs and clubs, and a video being sent to mobile phones using Bluetooth technology.

Essex county councillor and chairman of the Essex Casualty Reduction Board, Norman Hume, said: “I'd like to thank all our members for their strenuous efforts in ensuring our roads have been kept safer than ever this year.

“The work to make Essex's roads safe doesn't stop though and our work in education, enforcement and other areas to bring accidents down will continue.

“It may be tempting to have a drink but I'd remind people that last year in the UK, 460 people were killed as a result of someone being over the drink drive limit.

“It is always disappointing to learn how many people ignore the messages on drink driving but I would urge anybody driving to avoid alcohol so that we can all have a safe and happy New Year.”

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