DRIVERS in Nottinghamshire are drinking increasing amounts of alcohol before getting behind the wheel, according to new police figures.
Officers say that of the 11 motorists arrested for driving under the influence between 18th and 20th November, 10 were found to be almost three times over the legal limit.
The average reading in failed breath tests for micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath in January was 66.
But in five of the nine months to the end of September, that figure was 70 micrograms or more, peaking at 74 in April and July.
The legal limit is 35 micrograms, and Nottinghamshire Police chiefs say they are concerned about the pattern.
Chief Insp Andy Charlton said: “That’s not someone who’s had one too many. That’s someone who drives having consumed a huge amount of alcohol over a prolonged period.
“It seems that there are an increasing number of people who decide that they will drink excessively and still seem prepared to risk driving.
“It’s good that these people are being caught, and on many occasions the public will tell us about them.
“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.”
Figures for the first seven months of 2011 show the number of crashes in which alcohol was a factor is rising again after three years of reductions.