More than 50 drivers in Derbyshire caught drink-driving

More than 50 drivers in Derbyshire got behind the wheel in December despite being under the influence of drink or drugs.

Throughout December, roads policing officers across Derbyshire breath tested a total of 388 drivers.

Forty-five of those were either over the limit, refused to take the breath test or failed to provide an adequate sample – 11 per cent of the number tested.

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The December campaign was also the first in which officers were able to use specialist drugs testing kits to check whether drivers were under the influence of illegal substances.

Of the 23 drivers who were tested for drugs, ten were positive, and were all then arrested.

Chief Inspector Dick Hargreaves said: “The drug testing kits were introduced last year and have given us an essential tool in taking drug-drivers off the road and into the courts.

“Drugs, just like alcohol, have a staggering effect on your driving ability and reaction times, and can be a major factor in serious or fatal collisions.

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“Our campaigns are all about keeping our roads safe and we have an increased focus in December because of the rise in the social events for Christmas and New Year.

“Although the number of drivers found to be over the limit was relatively low, it means that there are still drivers who are willing to put their own lives and the lives of others at risk by driving.”

The number of drivers testing positive for excess alcohol in the most recent campaign compares to 88 caught in December 2014. However, the total number of breath tests administered was higher that year (668).

During this year’s campaign, Derbyshire police took to Facebook and Twitter to share photos of collisions that were directly caused by drink- or drug-drivers, using the hashtag #DontGetSmashed.

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The force also shared examples of memorable incidents where motorists have been stopped and breath-tested.

In one, the driver of an articulated lorry ran through a red light at a junction in Derby and was stopped by police. When he had his breath tested, he blew 55 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit in England and Wales is 35.

CI Hargreaves said: “Over the years, our roads policing officers have seen and heard every excuse in the book.

“There have been times when young drivers have had one drink but still found themselves way over the limit; and other times when a driver has tried to drink their own urine to flush the alcohol out of their system faster, because they’d been told that was a useful trick. It doesn’t work.

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“The simple fact is that if you get behind the wheel after even one drink, your driving is affected and you could be over the limit. Every single body is different from the next, and alcohol affects each one in vastly different ways.

“There is no one number on how much alcohol you can drink before being over the limit, so if you are having even one, don’t drive.”

Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa said: “The potential consequences of driving under the influence of either alcohol or drugs are horrific.

“It is one of the ‘fatal four’ reasons for many serious accidents, which tells its own story. Not only can this type of behaviour lead to accidents with serious and life-changing injuries, but those who have failed the test also face huge issues, from possible arrest and imprisonment to the inconvenience of losing their driving licence with the inherent costs that go with that.

“Driving under the influence is against the law for a reason and I urge people to think really carefully before they decide to get behind the wheel.”