Drink-drive campaign launched

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A month-long national campaign to reduce drink and drug driving began on Wednesday.

But motorists in Nottinghamshire are being warned that enforcement of drink driving laws carries on for 365 days of the year - and not just June.

Summer traditionally sees an increase in the number of people who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, with more people socialising in the warmer, lighter evenings.

During last year’s summer campaign, a total of 1,154 breath tests were carried out in the county and 135 people were arrested for failing or refusing to take a test.

More than 14,100 drivers were breath-tested throughout the whole of 2010, 648 more tests than during the preceding 12 months. Despite the increase in tests, the number of test refusals or failures was down by more than 300 to 1,483.

Drink or drugs were found to be the cause of seven fatal collisions in Nottinghamshire in 2010, compared with nine in 2009 and 12 in 2006.

Nottinghamshire’s Head of Roads Policing, Chief Inspector Andy Charlton, said: “The launch of the national campaign is important because this time of year does habitually see a spike in the number of people who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, so it is right to take this opportunity to draw attention to a very serious issue.

“However, just as there is no justifiable reason to drive a vehicle having had a drink or while under the influence of drugs, there is no time of year at which you will Nottinghamshire Police less active in the enforcement of the law.

“The fact that we substantially increased the number of tests last year demonstrates how committed we are to reducing deaths on or roads. Last year, Nottinghamshire saw the lowest number of all road deaths ever recorded in the county, falling from 48 in 2009 to 29 in 2010.

“Although the number of drink or drug-drive deaths also fell, they increased as a proportion of the total from one-sixth to a quarter.

“Our message is clear. Driving under the influence of drink or drugs is potentially lethal, and whatever the time of year our officers are stopping motorists we suspect may be drink-driving and arresting those who fail tests or refuse to take them.”