Northern Ireland

Drink driving: Number caught drink driving up by 30%

Police breathalysing someone

The number of motorists caught drink driving in the PSNI's winter operation was almost a third higher than last year.

Between 28 November 2019 and 1 January 2020, 418 drink and drug drivers were arrested.

That was the highest level of detections since the 2008/09 operation and was 30% higher than in 2018/19.

The youngest person detected was aged 14, while another person was over four and a half times the drink-drive limit.

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said the figures were "frustrating and disappointing".

He revealed nearly 13,000 people were subjected to roadside preliminary breath tests.

"Thankfully, the majority of people heeded our advice," he said.

Image caption Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said the figures were frustrating and disappointing

"Those people who completely disregarded the safety of themselves and others by taking the shameful and incredibly dangerous risk of driving after drinking, now find themselves facing a new year court appearance and a driving ban, which may have a huge impact on their life and that of their family."

Arrests were made at all times of the day, including a number with high readings during and just after lunchtime.

The oldest person detected was aged 83. Males accounted for the majority of detection - 314 (79.1%).

"Police will continue to use all the powers and legislation at our disposal, including the authorised checkpoints, to detect people who insist on driving after having taken drugs or alcohol," ACC Todd said.

"All motorists need to consider the consequences of their actions.

"Never take the risk of having even one drink if you are driving. The consequences can be catastrophic."

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