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136 motorists charged with drug or drink driving over Christmas

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: January 14, 2013

A reconstruction of a police breath test

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More than a hundred drivers were charged by Avon and Somerset police over the festive period and charged after driving while under the influence of drink or drugs.

Some 136 people were charged as part of the Operation Tonic anti-drink and drugs campaign out of a total of 857 who were stopped and given breath tests during December.

Police said the numbers were about what they expected this year as they ran a more intelligence-led operation targeting persistent offenders and venues known for drink and drug driving.

Chief Insp John Holt of Avon and Somerset’s Roads Policing Unit said: “One drink or drugs driver is too many, but generally we are pleased that so many motorists we tested were negative - which means they heeded all our warnings and acted legally and responsibly.”

Figures for December 1, 2012, to January 1, 2013, showed 314 breath tests were given following collisions, of which 50 were positive.

There were 543 tests not involving collisions, of which 86 were positive.

Of the 556 tests taken by people aged over 25-years-old 72 were positive.

The number taken by people under 25 was 301, with 64 being positive.

Three drivers were tested for drugs driving, but none was positive.

Police received 20 texts from members of the public who called a special hotline number 81819 to report someone they suspected was drink or drug driving.

Chief Inspector Holt said: “We take drink and drug driving seriously all year round, not just at Christmas, and people should know that we will continue to target and bring to justice any drivers who put themselves and others in danger.

“This Christmas our officers were out in towns and city centres, in shopping centres and motorway services, spreading the don’t drink or drugs drive message. It’s an ongoing campaign.”

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