Drink driver numbers fall by 15 per cent during Essex Police’s 2011 summer campaign

A TOTAL of 110 drivers were found to be over the limit during Essex Police’s 2011 Summer Anti-Drink Drive campaign – almost 15 per cent less than last year.

Officers were out in force across the county between June 1 and 30, taking a zero tolerance approach to those who put lives at risk by choosing to drink or take drugs and drive.

Of the 2,984 drivers stopped and breathalysed during that period, a total of 110 (3.7 per cent) were found to be driving over the legal alcohol limit or refused or failed to provide a sample.

Of those found to be over the limit, 87 (79 per cent) were men and 23 (21 per cent) were women. A total of 42 (38 per cent) were aged under 25 and 68 (62 per cent) were aged 25 and over.

During last year’s anti-summer drink drive campaign, which ran throughout the month of June, 129 drivers were found to be over the limit.

Essex Police deals with drink driving robustly 365 days a year but stepped up road checks in towns across the county with bustling night time economies and rural areas where some drivers believe they have less chance of getting caught drunk behind the wheel.

This year police made a plea to drivers, their families, friends and members of the public to take responsibility by reporting drink drivers to Essex Police or anonymously to Crimestoppers.

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During the campaign, residents were kept up to date with how many people had been arrested for drink driving with a graph and totaliser on the Essex Police website (essex.police.uk/drinkdrive).

Drink and drug driving risks lives, not just that of the driver and passengers but other innocent people using the road.

In 2010, 122 people were seriously injured or injured as a result of a driver being under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Casualty reduction manager for Essex Police Adam Pipe said: “The anti-drink drive campaign has clearly highlighted that a small but determined number of people who still believe they are above the law and are placing not only themselves but other road users at risk by continuing to drink and drive.

“Disturbingly a number of road policing operations conducted during the morning rush hour identified a number of drink drivers. Alarmingly, some were at the wheel of commercial vehicles used for work purposes.

“The community that we serve must know who these individuals are that continue to flout the law by continuing to drink and drive and we urge the public to use Crimestoppers to inform us of such drivers. Picking up the phone could save a life.

“Summer anti-drink drive campaign may have come to an end but in no way does that signify an end to our efforts to bring drink drivers to justice.

“We will not tolerate drink or drug drivers in Essex and our officers will continue to take a zero tolerance approach to it 365 days a year.”

Cllr Tracey Chapman, chairman of the Essex Casualty Reduction Board, said: “The reduction in the number of offences, compared to June last year, is encouraging. However, drink driving is not just an issue during the summer but one we need to remind people of throughout the year.

“Partners in the Essex Casualty Reduction Board are working hard to ensure that people are aware of the consequences of drink driving.

“Our message is clear, if you drink and drive in Essex you are very likely to get stopped and breathalysed. Anyone who is over the legal limit will be prosecuted.”