Staffordshire Police arrested 150 people as part of a targeted campaign to get drink and drug drivers off the county’s roads.
The campaign, part of a national initiative co-ordinated by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), ran between 1 December 2011 and 1 January 2012, and saw officers carry out 2,320 roadside breath tests.
This compares to 118 arrests and 1,803 roadside breath tests between 1 December 2010 and 1 January 2011.
Thousands of vehicles were stopped during the Christmas and New Year campaign, in addition to tests carried out at road traffic collisions, across the county.
This year’s campaign focused heavily on educating motorists about the consequences of drink or drug driving, with the support of partner agencies such as the Safer Roads Partnership, Alcohol and Dependency Specialists in Staffordshire (ADSIS) and HM Revenue and Customs. The campaign was also greatly supported by Special Constabulary officers.
The campaign ran alongside the Safer Roads Partnership led campaign Game Over, a high-profile campaign aimed at raising awareness and highlighting the danger of driving the morning after while still being over the limit.
Today’s figures are released a head of the national figures, which are to be announced by ACPO on Friday, 20 January.
Chief Inspector Steve Smytheman, from the force’s Road Policing Team, said: “The percentage of those tested who were positive is very similar to last year, which shows we have not had an increased number of people drink driving in the county.
“Drink or drug driving can have devastating consequences. It is against the law, anti-social and ruins lives and families.
“Staffordshire Police is not only committed to driving down the number of fatal and serious road traffic collisions on our county’s roads but also to educating motorists on the consequences of drink or drug driving. Once again this targeted campaign has been well received, and well supported, by members of the public.
“During the campaign we stopped a large number of people, providing them with road safety advice and informational leaflets. Any driver suspected of consuming alcohol, or committing a traffic offence, was required to give a breath test. The same is also required of any driver involved in a road traffic collision attended by the police.
“Today’s figures should reiterate to the public that we are serious about tackling drink and drug driving and the devastating affects it has on society.
“Not all those drivers arrested during the campaign will end up in court; some may have passed the second, evidential test at the police station.
“However, being arrested at the roadside, being taken to a police station and leaving passengers wondering how they were getting home will hopefully have a lasting effect on those drivers and hopefully change their attitude towards drink driving.
“The force will continue to carry out breath test enforcement throughout the year. The simple message is ‘Don't Drink and Drive’.”
Staffordshire County Councillor Mike Maryon, Cabinet member for Highways and Transport, said: “The police have been very pro active in their campaign against drink driving, carrying out 2,320 roadside breath tests compared to 1,803 the previous year.
“However, the number of people being arrested has also increased which shows that motorists are still putting not only their lives at risk but also he lives of innocent passengers and pedestrians. This is totally and utterly unacceptable and is something that the county council and its partners are determined to tackle.
“We will continue to take a zero tolerance approach to drink driving in Staffordshire and to push a clear message out to people – drink and drive and you could suffer a hang over that lasts a lifetime.”