More than 170 motorists from Suffolk and Norfolk were over the drink drive limit during festive period

A motorist stopped by police taking a breath test. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo credit John Giles/PA Wire

A motorist stopped by police taking a breath test. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo credit John Giles/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

POLICE officers caught on average more than five people every day during the Christmas period who were over the drink drive limit.

Norfolk and Suffolk Police's drink drive campaign started on December 1 and saw the two forces working together to provide a visible presence throughout the day and night, seven days a week, until January 1.

Officers on patrol throughout the two counties stopped any driver who caused concern, whether it was as a result of their manner of driving or because their car had a defect and carried out a breath test. All drivers involved in collisions were also tested.

Also during the campaign, licensed premises in Suffolk offered free or discounted soft drinks to designated drivers and on Friday, December 14 the Constabulary's Twitter feeds reported live from traffic patrols, raising further awareness of the risks of drink driving.

In total 8,844 people were stopped and breath tested of which 171 were found to be over the limit.

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Although this means that only 1.9pc of the tests carried out were positive, on average just over five people (5.34) were caught every day during the campaign.

Of the 171 positive breath tests, 38 were by drivers under the age of 25 and 133 were provided by drivers 25-years-old and older.

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Chief insp Chris Spinks believes motorists have listened to warnings.

He said: 'It is encouraging to see that less than two per cent of the tests carried out across the two counties resulted in a positive breath test. We were determined to have a visible presence on the county's roads and ensure that people knew if they made the decision to drink drive then there was a good chance we were going to catch them.

'However, we cannot rest on our laurels as there were still 171 people who risked their lives and the lives of others during the festive period. We had a tragic period on Norfolk and Suffolk's roads during December, where 11 people lost their lives on our roads. Those who drink drive need to realise that their actions could have equally devastating consequences.

'Campaigns such as this demonstrate our commitment to clamping down on drink drivers and should act as a warning: if you drink and drive you will be arrested and prosecuted. This particular campaign may have come to an end but our commitment remains and checks will continue throughout the year.'

Suffolk's police and crime commissioner, Tim Passmore, said: 'I am pleased to hear that drink drive figures have reduced in the county, but disappointed to see that too many drivers are still taking to the road under the influence of drink or drugs. This cavalier attitude to safety is completely unacceptable.

'I am working with the Constabulary to reduce bureaucracy to maintain front-line officers and I am committed to supporting campaigns such as this to make Suffolk an even safer place. In the future we will be looking at similar initiatives for drug driving.'

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