Nottinghamshire Police issue warning to Mansfield and Ashfield drink-drivers

NEARLY 100 people were arrested during the first three weeks of Nottinghamshire Police’s Christmas drink-drive campaign - and officers have renewed warnings about its dangers ahead of the New Year weekend.

According to the latest figures available, there were 91 arrests for drink or drug driving in Nottinghamshire between 1st December and 21st December.

Of the 91 arrested, 74 tested positive for being over the limit or refused to take a breath test and therefore will be subject to further action.

Forty-seven of the arrests made were made in the County Division - which covers the Mansfield and Ashfield area as well as South Nottinghamshire and Bassetlaw and Newark.

Chief Inspector Andy Charlton said that it was good to see that people who drink excessively and still risk driving, were being caught.

“No-one must believe that the scourge of drink-driving has gone away, the fact is too many people just don’t get it - drink-driving is killing people, and this Christmas we will be out testing as many drivers as possible.

“We are determined to catch those who put not just themselves, but all road users at risk,” he said.

Police have previously raised concerns that the amount of alcohol being consumed by drink drivers before they get behind the wheel is increasing.

The average reading in failed breath tests for micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath in January 2011 was 66.

But in five of the nine months to the end of September, that figure was 70 micrograms or more - double the 35 micrograms legal limit - peaking at 74 in April and July.

And between 18th and 20th November, 10 of the 11 drivers arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol were found to be nearly three times over the limit.

Figures from Nottinghamshire County Council show that in the first seven months of 2011, there were two fatal traffic collisions where the driver or rider was impaired by alcohol, resulting in two deaths.

There were 26 collisions that caused serious injuries to 30 casualties because the driver or rider was under the influence and 68 collisions in which 105 people suffered slight injury.

These statistics show that the number of crashes in which alcohol was a factor is rising again after three years of reductions - with a total of 96 in the first seven months of 2011, compared to the same amount during the whole of 2010.

Chief Insp Charlton added: “Our message is don’t wait for us to catch you. We know from the deaths and serious injuries that unfortunately we don’t catch everyone in time. The only safe number of alcoholic drinks you can consume before driving is zero.”

Penalties for drink driving begin with a 12 month driving ban, plus a prison sentence of up to six months and a fine of up to £5,000.

The penalty can increase according to the reading given, and for anyone who refuses or fails to provide a specimen.