Breathalyser warning this Christmas

Monday, December 20, 2021

Police are out in force this month checking for drivers over the limit, as drinking at home rises sharply following the outbreak of Covid.December is the busiest month for roadside breath testing. Last year 36,615 motorists in England and Wales were stopped by Police on suspicion of drink driving – around double the monthly average.A total of 3,737 drivers tested positive or refused to give a sample last December – a failure rate of 10%.Analysis of new Home Office data published this week, by personal breathalyser firm AlcoSense, shows big variations across the country.In Merseyside, Police tested 2,663 drivers whereas in Wiltshire it was just 140.Drink drive hotspots last Christmas included Manchester with the highest number of test failures (432) and Leicestershire with the biggest percentage of drivers caught (24%). In Hertfordshire, it was just 2%.Cambridgeshire was in second place for both the number of drivers testing positive (260) and the percentage caught (22%).“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,” comments Hunter Abbott, MD of AlcoSense.“Even with just 0.05mg/L of alcohol in breath (one-seventh of the English/Welsh limit) you’re 37% more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than when sober.“If in any doubt, you should self-test with a personal breathalyser to ensure you’re completely clear of alcohol before getting behind the wheel”.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 escalation in home drinking.Nationally, the number of killed or seriously injured drink-drive casualties 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.

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