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Drink and drug driving continues to fall in Lancashire

John Freeman
The number of people caught drink and drug driving in Lancashire has fallen again following the Constabulary’s annual county-wide drink drive campaign.

Between 1st December and 1st January, 10,006 tests were administered with just two per cent of people testing positive or refusing to provide a specimen.  This compares to 2.2 per cent for the 2009 campaign.

24 per cent of those tested were aged 25 and under. Failure rate for this group was 2.9 per cent – an improvement on last year when it was 3.1 per cent. The failure rate for over 25s was 1.8 per cent mirroring a national trend which shows that the under 25 age group is more susceptible to driving after taking drink or drugs.

While the drop might also in part have been the result of the bad weather, reducing the number of car journeys made, the festive crackdown saw high profile enforcement activity across the county, including checkpoints at key locations where officers administered drink and drug tests.

Officers spoke to almost 22,000 drivers in total during the campaign.

“It is really pleasing to see the figure fall for the fourth year running," says Superintendant Peter O’Dwyer. “Whilst the figures suggest that there are now less people getting behind the wheel after drinking and taking drugs, one person is too many.

“We will continue to take a tough-line against those who persist on driving after drinking or taking drugs.  We carry out enforcement activity throughout the year – not just during the festive period.

“Any amount of alcohol affects your ability to drive and the only safe option is not to drive if you plan to drink.  Our message is simple – do not drink and drive and do not take drugs and drive.”

In addition to the enforcement activity, a high profile radio campaign and hundreds of posters and beer mats, funded by the Lancashire Partnership for Road Safety, were distributed to pubs and clubs across Lancashire warning of the dangers of drink driving. Lancashire Police also ran a fictional on-line drink drive blog on Facebook as part of its efforts to specifically target the vulnerable 25 years and under group.

These figures show that the key message of the campaign – don't drive if you've had a drink or used drugs – is getting through to people," notes County Councillor Tim Ashton, Lancashire County Council's Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport. 

"We work closely with the police to make the roads of Lancashire safer for our residents, and I would like to congratulate them for the continuing success of their Christmas campaigns."