Number of drink-drivers on the rise

By James HoreMOTORISTS in Essex are continuing to flout drink-drive laws and risk the lives of innocent people. Latest figures from Essex Police revealed almost 5% of drivers stopped by officers either failed or refused a breath test during the first half of a month-long crackdown.

By James Hore

MOTORISTS in Essex are continuing to flout drink-drive laws and risk the lives of innocent people.

Latest figures from Essex Police revealed almost 5% of drivers stopped by officers either failed or refused a breath test during the first half of a month-long crackdown.

The statistics, described by the force as "disturbing", were issued yesterday as Essex Police's summer drink-drive campaign entered


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its second phase.

Essex Police launched their annual summer drink-drive clampdown at the beginning of August and stopped 1,351 motorists to be breathalysed in the first 15 days of the month.

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Of these, 4.7% - 63 drivers - failed or refused a test, up 0.1% on the same period last year.

Chelmsford traffic police stopped 220 motorists, of whom 12 tested positive, Bocking traffic police stopped 152 motorists, with two providing a positive specimen and Stanway traffic police stopped 248 motorists, of whom seven tested positive.

Police said an average of four drivers a day had been caught flouting the law and admitted a minority of motorists were ignoring the drink-drive message.

Chief Inspector Tom Diment, of Essex Police, said: "People are still choosing to drink and drive. They are a menace to themselves and other road users.

"With over 90 people being breathalysed a day in the county, the chances of getting caught are high.

"If a person is convicted of drink-drive offences, they can face imprisonment, loss of their licence and with that the potential loss of their jobs.

"Drinking and driving can cause so much heartache that it really is not worth it. We will continue to be vigilant in our quest to deal with people who choose to put lives at risk."

A spokesman for Essex Police said all the tests had been carried out on motorists suspected to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs or on people committing minor driving offences or involved in a crash.

He added: "I think it is safe to say the majority of drivers heed the vital road safety message, but there is a core minority that simply fail to and break the law year in, year out.

"We would like to see these people off the roads because they are potential killers."

Jim Minton, director of campaigns and communications for the Portman Group, which promotes responsible drinking attitudes, said: "There needs to continue to be a clear, unequivocal message that says 'Don't drink and drive' and people who ignore this message should face tough penalties.

"We would urge all licensees to promote our designated driver scheme, 'I'll be Des', which encourages people to always designate a non-drinking driver when they go out."

james.hore@eadt.co.uk

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