Belfast Telegraph

Over 350 arrests in PSNI Christmas drink drive crackdown - up on last year

More than 350 motorists were arrested on suspicion of drink driving during the winter period in Northern Ireland - an increase of 15.5% the previous year.

Preliminary figures released by the PSNI show 357 arrests were made between December 1 2017 and January 1 2018 - 48 more arrests than in the same period the year before.

Officers tested more than 13,000 people during the operation.

One person was detected at nearly four times the drink drive limit, with a reading of 133 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millimetres of breath.

The legal limit is 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.

Inspector Rosie Leech said when they launched the operation they warned drivers that just one drink can impair your decision making.

She said: “Each of those people (arrested) are now facing the stark reality a court appearance where they will most likely lose their driving licence for one or more years, be fined, and will have great difficulty in obtaining car insurance in the future.

“Many also risk losing their jobs or even going to jail. The alternative consequences had they not been caught do not bear thinking about.

“We shouldn’t be detecting people driving with any alcohol in their system. It’s disappointing that despite our continued warnings, the publicity and media coverage generated by this policing operation, that a minority of people completely disregarded the safety of themselves and others by continuing this shameful and incredibly dangerous practice.

“Police will continue to use all the powers and legislation at our disposal, including the authorised checkpoints, to detect people who insist on driving after having taken drugs or alcohol. All motorists need to consider the consequences of their actions. Never take the risk of having even one drink if you are driving. The consequences can be catastrophic.

She added: “As we move into a New Year and with the continuing hours of darkness, I want to renew our appeal to all road users and pedestrians to exercise caution and put road safety first. Make extra effort to look out for pedestrians and cyclists particularly along rural roads.  Pedestrians and cyclists should wear bright clothing, reflective jackets or armbands where possible to ensure they can be seen.

“If everyone slowed down, did not drive after drinking or taking drugs, wore a seatbelt and drove with greater care and attention then together we can save lives on our roads.”

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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