December’s national drink-drive campaign was led locally by Chief Inspector Richard Hann of the Beds, Cambs and Herts Roads Policing Unit.
Figures released on Friday show that across the three forces there was a slight increase in the list of shame of motorists stopped and arrested, but in Herts the number of drivers falling foul of the test was actually down – 87 drivers were arrested compared to 127 during the same period in 2012.
Chief Insp Hann said: “Whether the figures go up or down year on year, it is always a concern that there are still people putting themselves and others at risk by drinking and taking drugs before driving and we will continue to target them now the festivities are over.”
In Herts, a total of 1,278 breath tests where the motorist had not been involved in a collision were carried out during the month-long crackdown. 20 were over the limit, refused or failed to give a breath test and were subsequently arrested.
Another 216 breath tests were carried out where the motorist had been involved in a crash– of those, 13 were arrested.
Of those stopped and asked to give a breath sample, 218 were aged under 25 and just nine tested positive, refused or failed to give a breath test.
There were 117 drivers aged 25 or over tested, with 24 arrested.
Those caught out face a minimum 12 month driving ban as well as a hefty fine, and even a spell behind bars.
The offence of causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison and a driving ban of at least two years.
“There’s no excuse for drinking and driving,” said Chief Insp Hann. “If you do go out for a drink, never try to calculate whether you’re under the legal limit.
“Arrange a safe way to get home, such as a lift from a trusted friend who hasn’t been drinking, or use a registered taxi.”
The campaign coincided with the launch of a new reporting line and webpage, which is a dedicated number for Herts householders to report drivers who they suspect of getting behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol.
People are asked to report people via www.herts.police.uk but if they believe someone is drink-driving now and needs immediate police attendance they should call 01707 354111.
The reporting line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and calls will be handled by police officers and staff within the force’s control room.
County police and crime commissioner David Lloyd said this week: “I’ve made it a priority to tackle all forms of dangerous driving and drink-driving is no exception.
“Not only are they put their own lives and safety in danger but also that of other law-abiding drivers and pedestrians, too.”
Police top tip for avoiding drink-driving:
If you have to take the car, make sure you stick to non-alcoholic drinks rather than having one glass of wine or a pint of beer and hoping you’ll be under the legal limit – you can’t calculate your limit so don’t try to.
Take it in turns for one of your party to be the designated driver on nights out.
Leave the car at home and use public transport or take a registered taxi – why not pre-book one with a reputable company before you go out?
Stick to soft drinks – it tends to be a cheaper alternative as well as helping you avoid that ‘morning after the night before’ feeling.