Belfast Telegraph

Drink-drive campaign snares 408

Ten drink-drivers a day have been caught by police over the festive period.

The total of 408 is up 7% on the previous year when severe weather reduced traffic levels and officers were busy with protective duties.

PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Alistair Finlay said: "This shows we are making little impact on the behaviour of the residual amount of people in the province who continue to disregard everything that we advise. They will have the heartache of suffering penalties in court and losing their licence, but rightly so."

A total of 6,426 drivers were breathalysed during the 2011/12 campaign, which ran from the end of November to the start of this month. The number caught drinking is just over 7% more than the previous year's tally of 364.

Mr Finlay added: "It just shows you how often we can detect people who are driving with alcohol above the legal limit and proving dangerous to other road users."

He said the ages of those detected ranged from 16-76 while some readings were extraordinarily high, many times over the limit. Almost six times as many men as women were detected and the average age was 35.

The senior officer said there was a static level of people who persist in drinking and driving.

Justice Minister David Ford is considering introducing the power to randomly breath test rather than in response to a driving transgression as well as lowering the limit. Police also have a high-profile anti-alcohol driving campaign every festive season which highlights the death and destruction which driving while intoxicated can cause.

Mr Finlay added: "I am not sure what more we can do to demonstrate the potential anguish that their behaviour causes."

He said: "While we welcome the fact that the vast majority of right-thinking people realise that drink-driving is shameful and unacceptable, clearly there is still an irresponsible minority who ignore all advice and warnings."

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