Drop in Christmas drink-drive cases

PUBLISHED: 10:22 12 January 2006 | UPDATED: 09:24 06 May 2010

DRINK-DRIVING, speeding and misjudging road conditions are just some of the factors police in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire have seen on the roads this winter. There have also been incidents of drivers not wearing seatbelts or talking on hand-held mobile

DRINK-DRIVING, speeding and misjudging road conditions are just some of the factors police in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire have seen on the roads this winter.

There have also been incidents of drivers not wearing seatbelts or talking on hand-held mobile phones while driving.

Both police forces in Comet country have run campaigns over the past months in an attempt to make the counties' roads safer.

Hertfordshire's Drink Drive campaign involved breathalysing 2,270 drivers, of which 201 tested positive (8.9 per cent)

But Herts police report that the percentage of drivers found to be driving over the alcohol limit during the Christmas period fell for the third year running.

Chief Insp Nigel Brown said: "While it is encouraging to note that the percentage of people caught drink-driving has decreased we are still very disappointed with the fact that 201 people were caught drink-driving during our crackdown over the festive period.

"People do not seem to have heeded the very real warnings about the dangers of drinking and driving - the drivers we caught have blatantly put their own lives and the lives of others at risk."

In Bedfordshire, the force's Winter Driving Campaign was started in response to the number of people being killed on the county's roads in collisions.

Police believe excessive speed to be the single-most contributing factor, claiming that many deaths could have been prevented if motorists had taken more care with their driving.

They have also been shocked by the levels of motorists driving without seatbelts.

Since starting their education and enforcement campaign in November, Beds police have given out nearly 1,000 tickets and 546 motorists received on-the-spot fines for not wearing seatbelts or for not ensuring their children were strapped in.

A further 173 drivers were spotted talking on a hand-held mobile phone and 331 people were caught speeding.

Following Christmas there will be 103 people in court for drink-driving offences.

Insp Jane Aspin said: "We don't want to arrest people or give them tickets - but we'd rather not have to go to a house to tell children their dad has been killed by a drunk-driver either.

"I find it staggering that we are still stopping parents who think it is acceptable to put a child in a car and take them to school without a seatbelt on.

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