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Morning-after drink-drive blitz snares 56
OVER-50s are the worst culprits when it comes to drink-driving, say police officers who have already pulled over one motorist who was nearly five times the legal limit.
Just 10 days into their festive drink-drive campaign by the Safer Roads Partnership, 56 people have been arrested on suspicion of driving with excess alcohol in West Mercia.
Some have been drink-driving without knowing it on ‘the morning after’ – which is now a major theme of the partnership’s preventative education work.
Vicki Bristow, communications manager for the partnership, said a big majority of those who tested positive were over the age of 50. She said: “They tend to be the ones that have missed out on the education side of things. “It is harder to change their attitudes.”
The advice from the Partnership is for people to abstain from alcohol altogether if they are driving or, if they do have a drink, use public transport, taxis or a designated driver.
Police officers in Worcester say they have been shocked by some high readings. PC David Pengelly from Worcester Local Policing said one motorist stopped locally last week blew 165mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath, nearly five times the drink drive limit of 35mcg.
The highest reading he has ever seen was 183mcg, but that was not this year.
Drivers who test positive for alcohol will receive a minimum ban of one year but can receive longer bans if a particularly high reading is recorded or they have been caught before.
PC Pengelly, who was part of an operation yesterday that made use of the car park at the Old Northwick Cinema on the A449 in Worcester, said: “We have seen some exceptionally high results in the south Worcestershire area. “That reading (165mcg) is an excessive amount of alcohol to have in your body regardless of whether you’re driving or not. That amount of alcohol would knock out most people.”
However he said most drivers were law-abiding and over the last five days in Worcester, just two out of the 94 people tested had given a positive reading – proving the message was getting through.
One driver was charged for failing to provide a sample of breath (which he later did provide) and driving with excess alcohol and another was arrested for failing a field impairment test, which suggests they were unfit to drive through drink or drugs.
Year on year, the number of people testing positive for alcohol is falling across West Mercia, but PC Pengelly said one of the key issues was that people were unwittingly drink driving the morning after.
Police have been stopping people early in the morning when they are on their way to work. He said one driver this year blew 85cg in alcohol on his way to a football match the day after drinking.
PC Pengelly said: “It’s not that they’re dishonest – they’re doing it by sheer accident. “They don’t consider they will still be over the limit. You can’t simply flush alcohol out of your system with coffee and sleep. It takes time.”
It takes about an hour for each unit of alcohol to work its way out of the system.
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