Christmas drink driving down in South Yorkshire

CHRISTMAS drink-driving in South Yorkshire was two per cent lower last year than in 2013 — bucking a national trend.

The downturn follows a December campaign of roadside stops and breath-testing dubbed #noregrets by South Yorkshire Police.

Officers performed 3,372 tests during December 2014, with four per cent of drivers testing positive or refusing to provide a sample.

In December 2013, six per cent of 3,983 breath tests carried out were positive or non-compliant.

Nationally, four per cent of drivers tested in December 2014 were over the limit or did not comply, compared with just three per cent in December 2013.

In both years, the rate of positive or non-compliant tests following traffic collisions in South Yorkshire was higher than the rate for other tests.

In 2014, nine per cent of post-crash tests were positive versus three per cent of others, while in 2013 it was ten per cent after crashes versus five per cent elsewhere.

Chief Insp Glen Suttenwood, head of roads policing, said: “These results show how alcohol raises the chances of accidents.

Drivers are advised to keep in mind that drink driving puts at risk both their lives and the lives of others and to think twice before getting behind the wheel.”

He added: “South Yorkshire Police will continue to be vigilant and target those who drink and drive.”

The numbers also show that under-25s are more likely to be caught drink-driving — seven per cent tested last December were over the limit, versus just four per cent of over-25s.

The same pattern emerged in 2013, with eight per cent of under-25s failing the test versus five percent of over-25s.

A series of #noregrets police posters and radio adverts emphasises the lasting consequences that drink driving can have.

Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: “Our message is very simple and very clear.

“You are breaking the law, risking your life and the lives of those around you and the consequences of doing so will plague you for the rest of your life.

“Do not drive under the influence — it is not worth the risk and you will be caught.”

She added: “That message is not just for younger drivers — it is for all those who get behind the wheel.

“You do not have to stop enjoying yourself to take your responsibilities seriously, but please — if you drink, do not drive.”