Police say drink-drive warnings are working

3:00pm Friday 11th January 2013

By Ben Wilkinson

ONE hundred drivers were pulled over by police during one night of their Christmas drink-driving operation in west Oxford.

But not a single motorist was over the limit. The number of people arrested during the December-long campaign fell across the Thames Valley from 299 last year to 278.

Police say they hope this means the anti drink-drive message is starting to get across.

The west Oxford operation took place on Friday, December 14, between 9.30pm and midnight near PC World in Botley Road.

Eight officers stood watch, and despite pulling over dozens of cars no-one was arrested for drink-driving.

Amanda Cherry, of Banbury, was breathalysed at about 11pm after an office Christmas party. She was driving home after saying she had not had anything to drink.

But, speaking from the driver’s seat, she said she found the police operation reassuring.

She added: “With my friends there is always a designated driver.”

Martin Roberts, 63, of Stone Close, Botley, was stopped at about 10.30pm on his way back from teaching in East Oxford.

He said: “I don’t mind at all if it makes people more aware of the dangers.”

And Chris Peters, 25, from Aylesbury, was stopped at about 11.15pm.

He said many of his friends had been caught drink-driving, adding: “It’s definitely not worth the risk.”

Police use roadside breath testers to indicate if there is no alcohol in the driver’s breath, if they have passed, if they were close to failing, or if they are above the legal limit.

If drivers fail they are arrested and taken to a police station for a legal reading.

The alcohol limit for drivers is 80 milligrammes of alcohol per 100ml of blood or 35 microgrammes per 100ml of breath. That means drinking two pints of normal strength beer or one large glass of wine could put you over the limit.

Your liver takes an hour to process one unit of alcohol so if you’ve had a heavy night drinking, you could still be over the limit the next morning.

Acting Sergeant Ed Crofts said winter driving conditions made drink-driving even more dangerous.

He said: “Being in roads policing I deal with serious injury and fatal collisions and drink-driving is very often a part of that.

“I see the dramatic effects of it – dealing with families of the bereaved, those who have lost a relative or a friend.

“You make the choice when you get behind the wheel when you have been drinking and you know you should not be doing it.”

Sgt Crofts said the lack of arrests in the Botley Road operation showed the awareness campaign was working.

Drink-drivers face losing their licence for at least 12 months, and could also go to prison for six months or be fined up to £5,000.

Chief Inspector Henry Parsons, head of roads policing, said: “If people expect to be tested they don’t drink-drive.

“We are stopping people from dying, that is the bottom line.”

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