10 January 2014, 06:00
Police stopped and breathalysed nearly 2000 people in Suffolk last month, 138 of which were over the limit.
That equates to around four people being caught over the drink drive limit every day in the county. It was part of a joint Norfolk and Suffolk Police campaign across Christmas and New Year.
The campaign began on 1st December 2013 and the two forces worked together to provide a visible presence throughout the day and night, seven days a week until it ended on 1st January 2014.
Throughout the two counties officers were on patrol stopping any driver who caused concern, due to their manner of driving or a vehicle defect and conducting breath tests, as well as testing all drivers involved in collisions.
In total in Suffolk 1980 people were stopped and breath tested of which 138 were found to be over the limit. This works out as 7% of the tests carried out being positive, which on average is just over four people (4.31) caught every day in Suffolk during the campaign.
58 of 415 breath tests that were carried out following collisions came back as positive, which equates to nearly 14%. This is up from 6.6% in the 2012 campaign.
Chief Inspector Chris Spinks of the joint Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Policing and Firearms Operations Unit said: "It is disappointing that 7% of the tests carried out were positive. Despite the fact that we highlight the drink drive campaign and the obvious dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol, 138 people still risked their lives and the lives of others. This is evident in the decision of 58 people to drink and drive resulting in a collision.”
"Those who drink and drive need to realise that their actions can have devastating consequences and while this particular campaign has ended, our commitment to target drivers affected by drink and drugs remains and checks will continue throughout the year.”
Also during the campaign the Suffolk Roadsafe Partnership asked licensees to consider how they would feel if one of their customers were involved in a collision and encouraged them to support the campaign by offering free or discounted soft drinks to designated drivers.
Around 20 licensed premises throughout the county supported the Designated Driver Scheme during the campaign.
Councillor Graham Newman, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for roads and transport, said: "Driving under the influence is not acceptable and can lead to you losing your licence, job and life. Any alcohol in your system can impair your judgement, cause difficulty assessing road conditions and ultimately cause a serious collision. We’re delighted that a number of publicans have supported the campaign this year and we hope to build on this initiative in future years to lower the number of people who drink and drive.”
Tim Passmore, Police and Crime Commissioner added: "I find it really staggering that despite the obvious dangers and the huge amount of publicity, drivers do not seem to be getting the message. Drivers need to understand that drink driving risk their lives and the lives of others. I fully support the Constabulary’s approach to tackling drink driving and hope that slowly but surely the message is getting through, that drink driving wrecks lives and is totally unacceptable.
"I am really pleased to see the number of licensees taking part in the Designated Driver Scheme again this year. It is a really positive initiative which I am sure has an impact on the drink driving in the county.”