Christmas drink-drive figures up from last year

Police
Police

The number of Northern Ireland motorists detected drink-driving over the Christmas holidays is up on the same period last year.

According to the latest PSNI figures, 270 motorists were either over the legal limit, or were unable or unwilling to provide a sample – up from 258 in 2013/2014.

ACC Alan Todd said: “While the number of detections is slightly higher than last year, it’s difficult to accept this situation as a success, we shouldn’t be detecting anyone drink-driving.

“When we launched this operation at the end of November, we warned drivers not to take the risk because police are determined to catch drink-drivers.

“One person was detected at nearly five times the drink-drive limit, with a reading of 171 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millimetres of breath while the legal limit is 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.

“It’s disappointing that despite our warnings, a minority of people completely disregarded the safety of themselves and others by continuing this shameful and incredibly dangerous practice.”

A total of 4,950 preliminary breath tests were carried out this year compared to 4,649 last year.

Men were more than five times more likely to be caught driving while over the limit.

ACC Todd added: “Every year across Northern Ireland, drinking and driving kills, maims and wrecks families. Police will continue to detect people who insist on driving after having taken drugs or drink. We are again appealing for all motorists to consider the consequences of their actions.”

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said: “Given what we know about how dangerous it is to drive after drinking alcohol, it is disappointing that some drivers still choose to drink alcohol and then get behind the wheel of a car.

“My message to all drivers is clear, just one drink will impair your driving ability. I would urge everyone to play their part in persuading drivers to never ever drink and drive.”