OVER 280 people were caught drink driving in Lancashire during the police’s Christmas drink drive campaign.   A total of 18,964 tests were administered throughout the month of December with 274 people, or 1.4 per cent, failing the test and seven people, or 0.04 per cent, refusing to provide a specimen.

This means the total number of people who failed or refused the test was 281 or 1.5 per cent.   In 2011, 13,249 tests were administered with 168, or 1.3 per cent, failing the test or refusing to provide a specimen.

The annual crackdown on drink driving saw high-profile enforcement activity take place around the clock across the county.

“We are committed to reducing the number of people injured and killed on our roads and it is worrying that there are still motorists that are getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol.” Supt Richard Morgan

Supt Richard Morgan said: “This year we have tested more drivers than ever as part of the campaign.

We have had a huge focus on finding those responsible for flouting the law.   “The number of people caught drink driving or refusing to provide a specimen has increased this year, which is indicative of our approach to better targeting of offenders. However it does highlight that perhaps some motorists are becoming complacent and taking chances.

“We are committed to reducing the number of people injured and killed on our roads and it is worrying that there are still motorists that are getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol.   “The consequences of drink driving are well publicised and I can’t stress enough the importance of motorists taking note.

Last year 280 people were killed across the country in accidents where the driver was over the limit. If you drink and drive you risk killing an innocent person or yourself. It is really that simple.”   In 2011, 1.7 per cent of those tested aged 25 and under failed the test. The failure rate for over 25s was 1.2 per cent mirroring a national trend which showed that the under 25 age group is more susceptible to driving after taking drink or drugs.   During the latest campaign, 2.7 per cent of under 25s tested failed or refused the test.

Supt Morgan added: “Of the 281 people that tested positive or refused to provide a specimen, 79 or 34.6 per cent, were under the age of 25.

“We have been working closely with this age group to educate them on the dangers of driving whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This has included visits to colleges and universities. We will continue with this work in a bid to get the message across that drink driving is simply unacceptable.”

County Councillor Tim Ashton, Lancashire County Council Cabinet member for highways and transport, added: “It has taken years of campaigning to change attitudes to drink driving and the numbers tested this Christmas demonstrate Lancashire’s continued commitment to ensuring this message is not lost on a new generation of drivers.

“While the results are very positive, showing most people would never drink and drive, it’s worrying to see there remains a minority who must not realise the significantly higher risks of being involved in a road accident if you drink and drive, and the life-changing consequences this could have for everyone unlucky enough to be involved, not just the driver and their family.”

As part of the campaign, the parents of drink drive victim Matthew Alston released a statement to warn of the devastating impact of driving under the influence of alcohol. 18-year-old Matthew Alston was killed two years ago when he drove to a friend’s house still unknowingly drunk the morning after a night out.

Lancashire Constabulary also teamed up with a school in Lancaster whose pupils produced a short play as part of an interschool competition featuring an emotive poem that told the story of a teenage boy who heeded his parent’s advice not to drink drive but was then killed on his way home from a party by a drink driver.   If you would like to report someone who you suspect of driving whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs, contact the police on 101.

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