Is Drink Driving On The Rise?

Wed 22nd Dec 2021

The festive season is traditionally a busy time for the traffic cops looking to take drink drivers off the roads, but worrying new data published this week has revealed that while the number of positive tests is on the rise, the number of actual tests taken is on the decline.

At a time when one in six drink drive tests was positive, the highest proportion since 2003, there were only 252,069 breathalyser tests in 2020, the lowest number of tests on record, and an 18 per cent fall on the previous year’s figures.

While Covid could account for the significant drop, campaigners are arguing that fewer police on the roads is leading to less people getting breathalised and at a time when it seems more people are risking it.

In 2009 there were 703,490 people breathalised, the peak of the police powers in the fight against drink and drug driving.

“With ever fewer traffic police, testing will continue to spiral downwards,” said Hunter Abbott, managing director of personal breathalyser firm, AlcoSense.

“Studies show people drinking more alcohol since Covid struck, particularly at home - so roadside tests should actually be stepped up given the danger of morning-after driving with alcohol still in your system.
“Even with 0.05 milligrams per litre of alcohol in breath (one-seventh of the English/Welsh limit) a driver is 37 per cent more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than when sober,' Abbott said.

“If in any doubt, drivers should self-test with a personal breathalyser to ensure they’re completely clear of alcohol before getting behind the wheel.”