Met Police officers stepped up operations and patrols this Christmas to crack down on drink and drug driving, as part of the Association of Chief Police Officers national campaign.
Over 13,100 breath tests were administered, up nearly 400 from last Christmas. Results showed an encouraging drop in the number of people failing tests compared with last year.
The campaign saw nearly 1,100 arrests, down 31% from last year, as officers conducted roadside breath tests on motorists suspected of being over the legal alcohol limit and Field Impairment Tests on drivers suspected of being under the influence of drugs.
These ‘FIT’ tests involve a driver undergoing a series of exercises designed to test balance, co-ordination and reaction. If the tests suggest that drugs may be in the driver’s system, the driver is arrested.
The number of people under 25 who were arrested for failing the test was disappointingly high, 203 people were arrested – 18.9% of the total.
Ch Supt David Snelling said:
“Although we’re encouraged that the number of people failing the test has fallen, drink driving remains a significant problem especially among younger drivers. If people could see firsthand the devastation that drink driving causes, as my officers do, I am sure they would think again before risking their lives and the lives of others.”
Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur, in charge of Central Operations, said:
“Anyone who drinks and drives is knowingly putting all other road users at risk. It is completely unacceptable that some people still think that drinking and driving is not a serious offence.
“In London people who still take this risk with others lives need to know that this is not just something we target at Christmas. My officers are carrying out checks every day on the Capital’s roads.”
Figures for the Met’s Christmas Drink and Drug Drive Campaign
Overall total number of breath tests administered: 13,112 (2006: 12,743)
Overall total number of arrests: 1069 (2006: 1551)
Total number of breath tests administered in injury collisions: 932 (2006:1076)
Total number of arrests in this category: 119 (2006:148)
Total number of breath tests administered in damage only collisions: 1128 (2006:1071)
Total number of arrests in this category: 158 (2006:178)
Total number of breath tests administered to under 25s: 2777 (no comparative stats for 2006 currently available)
Total number of arrests in this category: 203 (no comparative stats for 2006 currently available)
Advice from the Met:
· If you are drinking, enjoy make alternative arrangements to get home that do not involve driving
· Appoint a designated driver for the evening who sticks to soft drinks
· Plan a licensed cab share between friends
· Do not drive the morning after you have been drinking, as you may still be over the limit; likewise be careful about drinking at lunchtime