Police Northern Ireland launch drink drive crackdown

Monday, December 04, 2023

Motorists are being warned of the dangers of drink driving as Police in Northern Ireland launch their annual December crackdown this week.

Last year 40,021 vehicles were stopped over the Christmas and New Year period.

A total of 14,459 roadside breath tests were conducted by PSNI.

As a result, there were 241 arrests for drink driving and a further 28 for drug offences.

However the failure rate at 2% was considerably lower than in England and Wales, where it is typically 10% in December.

“Police always step up roadside breath testing during the Christmas party season,” comments Hunter Abbott of breathalyser firm AlcoSense Laboratories.

“If you drink four pints of medium-strong beer or four large glasses of wine, it can take as long as 14 hours for the alcohol to clear your system.

“Even with just 10mg per 100mL of alcohol in your blood (one eighth of the legal limit in Northern Ireland) you are 37% more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than when completely sober.

“The rules are simple. If you’ve been drinking in the evening, don’t drive. If you’re driving the next day, test yourself with a personal breathalyser to make sure you’re clear of alcohol from the night before. One in five drink drive convictions are in the morning”.

Belfast City was the hotspot last Christmas with 54 arrests for drink or drug driving offences – followed by Mid Ulster (42) and Fermanagh & Omagh (31).

The lowest district was Ards and North Down with 14 arrests.

According to the latest PSNI report published last week, there were 2,988 drink and drug driving offences in the 12 months ending 30 September.

Over half of offenders (1,568) were in the 30-49 age group. Four fifths (79%) were men.

All convicted drink drivers in Northern Ireland are now automatically referred to a rehabilitation training course. Those completing the course will see their disqualification period cut by up to 25%.

Penalties for driving when above the legal limit can include six months in prison, a fine of up to £5,000 and/or a ban for at least 12 months.


4 December 2023


PSNI Chief Constable’s Accountability Report to Northern Ireland Policing Board
PSNI Motoring Offence Statistics for Northern Ireland 1 October 2022 – 30 September 2023
PSNI Christmas Drink Drive Campaign 2022/2023

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 Police northern ireland drink drive crackdown

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