More than 1,500 Lancashire drivers stopped and breath-tested in run-up to Christmas and New Year's
Drivers in Lancashire are warned they are twice as likely to be stopped by police and breath tested over Christmas and New Year's compared with other months.
Analysis of Home Office data by breathalyser firm AlcoSense shows that in December last year, Lancashire Police stopped 1,541 motorists suspected of drink driving.
That compares with just 735 breath tests in November, as the force ramps up spot checks as part of its Christmas drink/drug driving campaign.
Last December, 109 motorists tested in Lancashire were found to be over the limit after being stopped at checkpoints across the county.
Daily checkpoints are being set up across the county to conduct roadside breath and drug tests with Lancashire Police warning of "a zero tolerance policy" to those caught over the limit.
The force insists it "will not tolerate anybody putting lives in danger." And it is urging people to report anyone they suspect of drink/drug driving.
"We know people will want to enjoy a drink over Christmas but we want to make it clear we will be taking a zero tolerance approach to drink or drug-driving," said CI Pat Worden of the Lancashire Police TacOps team.
He added: "We will not hesitate to prosecute anybody who is found to be over the legal limit for alcohol or drugs."
Coronavirus pandemic sees increase in alcohol sales and home drinking
A recent report by Public Health England highlighted a 25% increase in alcohol sales in shops and supermarkets between 2020 and 2019, suggesting a steep rise in home drinking during the coronavirus pandemic.
Hunter Abbott, managing director of breathalyser firm AlcoSense, recommends drivers self-testing with a personal breathalyser to ensure they’re completely clear of alcohol before getting behind the wheel this Christmas.
"Police always step up the number of roadside breath tests in December, because of Christmas parties and other festive celebrations," he warned.
"Studies show people drinking more alcohol since Covid struck, particularly at home - so this increases the danger of ‘morning after’ driving with alcohol still in your system.
"Even with 0.05mg/L of alcohol in breath (one-seventh of the English/Welsh limit) a motorist is 37% more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than when sober
"If in any doubt, drivers should self-test with a personal breathalyser to ensure they’re completely clear of alcohol before getting behind the wheel."
Nationally, the number killed or seriously injured in drink-driving crashes last year was 2,050 - an increase of 8% on the previous year and the highest level since 2011.
The figure includes 230 fatalities where the motorist was over the drink drive limit.