Fewer drink-drivers are caught in festive blitz
Police caught fewer drink-drivers during their annual Christmas campaign than in previous years.
Ninety-eight people were caught driving while over the legal alcohol limit during December – 10 fewer than during the 2011 Christmas campaign.
During the 2010 Christmas campaign, officers caught 127 drink-drivers, while in 2009 the total was 122.
The force released the final results of the four-week operation yesterday.
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The cases are working their way through the courts.
The penalties for drinking and driving are a minimum 12-month disqualification – which rises to three years for a second offence within 10 years – a fine of up to £5,000 and up to six months in prison.
Chief Inspector Steve Potter, who has overseen the campaign, said: "The total is 10 fewer than last year and that is good news.
"But what we have found this year is that we have arrested more drink-drivers between 6am and noon.
"Last year, it was six, this time it was 15.
"That suggests to me that people may be heeding our message about not drinking and driving on the evening they are out, but are unsure about how they are still affected the next day.
"There is no formula to tell you how much you can drink in an evening and be okay to drive the next day.
"It depends on a number of factors, including weight, age, metabolism and how much food you have eaten.
"If you are over the alcohol limit, it will impair your driving skills.
"People have to consider alternative forms of transport if they are in any doubt about whether they are safe to drive."
Chief Insp Potter warned that officers were on duty throughout the year and around the clock to track down drink-drivers.
He said: "Our two main media campaigns are at Christmas and in the summer. But we continue to arrest people for drinking and driving 365 days a year."
Officers conducted hundreds of checks across the two counties throughout December.
However, the exact number of people tested has not been calculated yet – meaning it is not known yet whether the number of people caught is a higher or lower proportion of all those tested than in previous years.
Cliff Ward, a paramedic with East Midlands Ambulance Service, helped launch the campaign.
He said: "The impact road incidents involving drink-drivers has on families, and sometimes even emergency services staff is huge."