Festive drink-drive arrests fall slightly in Wales

A police officer holds a breath test kit The message of the winter campaign was that people should not drive when having a drink

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Drink-drive figures for last Christmas show that more people in Wales were stopped, but fewer arrested compared to last year.

Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones welcomed the results, which he said reflected a change in attitudes.

Officers stopped and breathalysed more than 40,000 motorists in Wales in December 2010.

Just under 580 (1.4%) of these were arrested, compared to 600 (1.6%) of the 36,000 stopped in December 2009.

The festive campaign was launched at Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli by Dyfed-Powys Police and the Welsh Assembly Government.

Commenting on the figures, Dyfed-Powys Police Assistant Chief Constable Nick Ingram said: "The key message for us this year was that it's impossible for people to safely calculate how much they can drink and still be able to drive below the legal limit.

"The safest thing to do is not drink at all.

"This winter campaign gives us the opportunity to highlight the issues surrounding drinking and driving particularly the morning after.

"We cannot judge how much we can drink and drive safely and drivers may find that they are still well over the limit the following morning.

DRINK-DRIVE CAMPAIGN FIGURES

  • DYFED-POWYS POLICE 11,269 drivers tested, with 139 positive
  • GWENT POLICE 12,022 drivers tested, with 95 positive
  • NORTH WALES POLICE 9,068 drivers tested, with 90
  • SOUTH WALES POLICE 7,905 drivers tested, with 254 positive

SOURCE: Dyfed-Powys Police

"The only safe options are to drink or drive not both."

Mr Jones, who also holds the transport portfolio, said: "There has been a slow and steady change in attitudes towards drinking and driving in recent years, which are reflected in these results and has manifested itself in a huge reduction in road casualty figures.

"However, these efforts must continue.

"It is essential that motorists remember that if they're going to drink they should get someone else to drive or leave their car at home, whatever the time of year.

"You can not calculate your own drink-drive limit so the only safe option is not to drink and drive."

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