Increase in drink-drivers in Norfolk and Suffolk

The number of drink-drivers caught in Norfolk over the Christmas period increased compared to the previous festive season, figures have revealed.

Out of 4,320 drivers tested between December 1 and January 1, 74 tested positive for drink-driving, or 1.71pc.

However, last year only 60 drivers out of 5,978 stopped tested positive, or 1.003pc.

The rise was a disappointment for senior police officers in the county, following the launch of a new Ask Gus website, which provides information on the nearest bus stops, train and taxi options so people can find a safe way home or into work if they have had a lot to drink.

Insp David Ball, of Norfolk police, said: 'It is disappointing that more of those drivers tested were found to be over the limit.

'There are no excuses. While we live in a rural county, the Ask Gus website clearly shows there are plenty of other choices you can make in how you get home from a night out or back to work the following day.

'Of those few still willing to risk their own, as well as other people's, lives, 56 people who tested positive were over 25 and 18 were under 25.

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'Whatever time of year it is, having none for the road is still the best course of action. It is important to remember that a great night can turn into an awful morning if you do drink and drive.'

Suffolk police were disappointed with the number of people still determined to put lives and careers on the line by getting behind the wheel after too much to drink.

Figures released by the force show 111 motorists out of 1,638 stopped in December tested positive for drink-driving, or 6.8pc.

In December 2010, 102 breath tests out of 1,118 conducted were positive – 9.1pc.

The month-long campaign saw officers conduct breath tests countywide and on average 3.5 motorists were caught over the drink-drive limit every day during the campaign.

The worst offending group were those aged under 25, where 6.4pc failed a breath test.

Only 1.9pc of tests conducted on those over 25 were found to be positive. Police say 447 breath tests were carried out following accidents, of which 31 resulted in a positive reading. Chief Insp Adrian Dawson, of Suffolk police, said: 'This year has seen a decrease in the number stopped to be over the drink-drive limit, however, nearly 7pc of people we have stopped have failed to act with consideration or acknowledge the greatly increased risks they face by drink driving.

'Those offending need to realise that they are not just putting themselves at risk but other innocent road users as well. This is a very serious issue and can have severe consequences.'

dominic.bareham@archant.co.uk

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