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Number of drink drivers in Norfolk and Suffolk rises

An example of the breathalysers police will use during this month's drink-drive campaign. ENGSUS00120121220110146
An example of the breathalysers police will use during this month's drink-drive campaign. ENGSUS00120121220110146

More than 3,300 drivers were breath tested in Suffolk and Norfolk during the Christmas drink drive campaign - with 9% failing in Suffolk and 6.3% in Norfolk.

Between 1 December 2015 and 1 January 2016, 3,349 drivers were tested with 262 drivers providing positive readings in total for both counties.

The campaign was carried out by officers from Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Policing and Firearms Unit including the newly formed Road Casualty Reduction Team, who stopped motorcycles, cars, van and lorries where concerns were raised over the manner of driving or the condition of the vehicle, and tested anyone involved in a collision.

In Suffolk 1,920 tests were carried out with 172 drivers failing the test and in Norfolk 1,429 tests were carried out with 90 drivers failing.

Inspector Julian Ditcham of the Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Policing Unit said: “The results show that it is the minority of drivers that were found to be drink driving in both Suffolk and Norfolk. But this is still too many and the percentage testing positive is higher than last year which is disappointing.

“We carry out campaigns like this all year round, but it is ever more prevalent at Christmas time, when the focus is around family and people celebrating the end of the year. We are always keen to highlight the dangers associated with getting behind the wheel while over the limit, the dangers to other road users and the consequences of being caught.

“You have to ask yourself, is that extra pint or glass of wine really worth increasing the risk of causing a serious collision or even death? How would you live with yourself afterwards knowing the consequences of your actions? What effect would it have on your life and family?

“I would also like to thank the local media, Crimestoppers and partner agencies for supporting the campaign and helping to spread road safety messages.”

Tim Passmore, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “It beggars belief that despite the obvious dangers, too many drivers are still taking to the road under the influence of drink or drugs. I cannot believe that 9% of drivers stopped in Suffolk failed a breath test over the Christmas period. It’s just not good enough.

“All drivers need to understand that drink driving risks their lives and the lives of others. It’s high time that the message gets through to people, that drink driving wrecks lives and is grossly irresponsible and selfish. This cavalier attitude to safety is completely unacceptable. Sadly far too many drivers have still not learnt the lesson – drink driving kills.

“I trust the courts will hand out suitable sentences to act as a powerful deterrent.”

Stephen Bett, Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner said: “With organisations across the county and beyond coming together to support the campaign, the message is clearer than ever – don’t drink and drive.

“The 90 drivers who failed the test in Norfolk made the decision to get behind the wheel and put other people’s lives at risk, as well as their own. They can’t say they were unaware of the potential consequences, think themselves unlucky, or claim ignorance.

“I believe the majority of law-abiding people support our police in doing all they can to bring offenders to justice and keep our roads safe, not only at Christmas but all year round. Those who think it is acceptable to drive on our roads under the influence of alcohol should take this as a warning: as a county we will not tolerate drink driving and our police will seek to prosecute offenders.”

Last year during the month long crackdown 4,647 drivers were tested with 188 motorists providing positive readings.

Police work closely with partners Suffolk Roadsafe and Think! Norfolk partnership to make roads safer and prevent more people from being killed or seriously injured. The Suffolk Roadsafe Board comprises representatives from Suffolk Constabulary and other partners including Suffolk County Council to provide the best possible use of resources and road safety expertise from many different disciplines.

The Think! Norfolk partnership is made up of Norfolk County Council, Norfolk Constabulary, Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service, Norfolk Safety Camera Partnership and East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust. The police enforcement activity is supported by outdoor media delivered by the Think! Norfolk partnership around the ‘Why Wouldn’t You’ campaign. This creative campaign supports the Constabulary ‘Fatal4’ enforcement activities by raising public awareness, using specifically targeted advertising methods.