Drink drivers ‘put all of us in danger’

More than one in 50 drivers stopped by Lancashire Police in the force's western division, which includes the Fylde coast, during December failed a breath test.
More than one in 50 drivers stopped by Lancashire Police in the force's western division, which includes the Fylde coast, during December failed a breath test.
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A police clampdown on drink drivers in Lancashire found Fylde coast motorists are the least likely to get behind the wheel while over the limit.

More than one in 50 drivers stopped by police in the force’s western division, which includes the Fylde coast, during December failed a breath test.

But police said their “targeted” approach was behind a steep rise in the failure rate, which was double the figure in 2013.

Last month, 57 out of 2,493 motorists in the area – 2.3 per cent – were found to be driving while over limit. The county average was 3.1 per cent.

Supt Jon Puttock said: “This year’s Christmas drink drive campaign saw us adopt a more targeted, intelligence led approach.

“As a result, we carried out fewer breath tests than in previous years, meaning it is difficult to make any direct comparisons.

“We will continue to carry out regular enforcement activity and take action against those who continue to break the law.”

Across Lancashire, 153 people were caught drink driving and four refused to be breathalysed. None of the refusals were on the Fylde coast.

In 2013, police carried out more than twice as many breath tests but the number of people caught drink driving remained similar. Of the 5,055 people stopped, 60 either failed or refused the test, a rate of 1.2 per cent.

Sgt Puttock added: “What we would say is that 153 people caught drink driving is 153 people too many. People who choose to drink and drive not only put their own lives in serious danger, but the lives of everyone around them.”

Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw said he was “delighted” with the operation but disappointed so many people drive while over the limit.

He added: “Every single one of Lancashire’s residents should recognise the dangers of getting behind the wheel after drinking – whether it is the same night or the morning after. If you do drink drive you risk ruining your life – and you could potentially end someone else’s.”

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of road safety charity Brake, said a “significant minority of young people” were not getting the message about the dangers of drink driving.

She added: “People who persist in drink driving needlessly put the lives of others at risk and too often cause crashes that devastate families and communities, all for the sake of a drink.”

In the force’s southern division, covering Preston and Skelmersdale, 5.8 per cent of 1,076 motorists failed or refused to be tested. In the east, the figure was 2.6 per cent of 1,443 drivers.