Brake Welcomes Fall In Christmas Drink Driving

Motor charity Brake has welcomed new statistics that show the number of drink driving arrests over this Christmas period fell.

27.01.2014

Motor charity Brake has welcomed new statistics that show the number of drink driving arrests over this Christmas period fell.

This was despite a rise in the number of breath-tests and executives from the charity are satisfied the police are doing a good job in terms of cutting down this dangerous practice.

Some 6,550 people were arrested in a month-long enforcement campaign over the festive period. This was down 573 on the year before, according to figures released by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

But criticisms from some about police budget cuts allowing more people to get away with drunk driving were rejected, as the same ACPO report showed the number of breath tests rose from 175,381 in 2012 to 191,040 in 2013.

Despite these encouraging figures, Brake wants legal action against those driving under the influence of drink and drugs to continue unabated and has reiterated its call for the government to reduce the permitted blood alcohol limit to 20mg per 100ml of blood.

While the charity would rather have a full ban on drinking and driving, it has admitted many people have very low quantities of alcohol in their bodies when they operate their vehicle and this would be hard to penalise.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of Brake, said: "It is encouraging to see an increase in vital drink drive enforcement over the festive period and fewer arrests.

"However drink driving remains one of the biggest killers on our roads and we have some way to go before we persuade all drivers to commit to never driving after drinking. People who persist in drink driving needlessly put the lives of others at grave risk."

To try and dissuade more people from drink driving, Brake recently launched its 'Not a drop, not a drag' campaign, which aims to educate people about the dangers of taking small quantities of alcohol or marijuana before driving.

Expert Opinion
While it is welcome to see that the number of arrests for drink driving fell over the recent festive period, despite an increase in the number of breath tests undertaken, it must be remembered that still more than 6,500 people were charged with the offence across the month in question.

"Any number of people arrested for drink driving is too many and it is vital that while the success of the recent Christmas period is recognised, work must continue in earnest to tackle this worrying issue once and for all.

"We have seen through our work that there have been a number of cases when people have suffered serious injury or lost loved ones due to drink driving. The terrible consequences of the activity should never be ignored and efforts to improve road safety must continue."
Stephen Nye, Partner