17/01/2020

Spike In Christmas Drink Drive Detections

A 14 year-old was among hundreds of drink and drug drivers arrested during the PSNI's annual winter anti-drink drive operation.

Preliminary figures show that some 418 drink and drug drivers and motorcyclists were arrested over the festive period.

They were among almost 13,500 people subjected to roadside breath testing between 28 November 2019 and 01 January 2020.

The PSNI has slammed those who continue to get behind the wheel while under the influence after 30% more detections were made in comparison to last year, elevating rates to a 12-year high.

It also came to light that one person was over four and a half times over the drink drive limit with a reading of 163 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal allowance in Northern Ireland stands at 35 micrograms of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of breath.

A number of drivers returned high readings just after lunchtime, while the youngest person detected was below the legal age limit for driving at age 14.

Men accounted for the majority of detections at 79.1%, while the oldest person found to be under the influence was aged 83.

Police have expressed frustration that some drivers continue to disregard safety guidelines and take the "shameful and incredibly dangerous risk of driving after drinking".

The arrested individuals will face a New Year court appearance and driving ban.
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Looking to the months ahead, Assistant Chief Constable Todd said the crackdown on drink and drug driving will continue.

"Police will continue to use all the powers and legislation at our disposal, including the authorised checkpoints, to detect people who insist on driving after having taken drugs or alcohol," he warned.

"All motorists need to consider the consequences of their actions. Never take the risk of having even one drink if you are driving. The consequences can be catastrophic."

ACC Todd stressed the importance of road safety to all users, including pedestrians and cyclists.

He continued: "Tragically, two people have already lost their lives on our roads this year. So mindful of the continuing hours of darkness and winter weather, I want to renew our appeal to all road users and pedestrians to exercise caution and put road safety first.

"Drive in a manner and at a speed which is appropriate for the conditions and make extra effort to look out for pedestrians and cyclists particularly along rural roads. Pedestrians and cyclists should wear bright clothing, reflective jackets or armbands where possible to ensure they can be seen. And pedestrians, where there is no footpath they should always walk on the right, facing towards oncoming traffic.

"Never drive after drinking or taking drugs, always wear your seatbelt and whether you are a pedestrian, cyclist or other road user, please always pay attention to your surroundings and don’t get distracted by conversations, or mobile phones."



(JG/CM)

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