Kent police have just released the results of their latest Christmas drink drive campaign and on the face of it it presents good news. Although the number of tests administered increased on last year the number of motorists testing positive was down.
Last year between 1 December 2012 and 1 January 2013, 277 motorists were tested and 178 (64%) were positive.
This year between 1 December 2013 and 1 January 2014, 334 motorists were tested and 156 (47%) were positive. It is noticeable how many more motorists were tested this year; Kent police did say they were going to be carrying out more stops and tests and they plainly did so.
Given the increase in the numbers tested from 277 to 334 (an increase of just over 20%) a reduction in real numbers of positive tests is to be welcomed. However, the statistics still reveal large numbers of drivers on the road whilst over the limit.
Why would this happen despite so much publicity and a significant police presence?
Undoubtedly some drivers will have known very well that they were over the limit and chose to drive anyway, either not caring or taking a chance. Some may have been the victims of spiked drinks and may not have been aware of what they were drinking. I would expect, however, that the majority simply didn't realise how little it takes to put them over the limit. Wine is often served in large glasses and can be 12% proof or more, and lager from bottles is stronger than people sometimes realise. People know that it's ok to drink some alcohol, but I think there is genuine difficulty in assessing how much.
I also think that a good number were caught out the morning after a party and failed to realise how long the alcohol would take to clear their system (see my earlier blog on morning after drink driving).
The statistics for arrests for drink/drug driving by area make interesting reading. While all areas of the county show levels of arrests Medway stands out as the drink drive capital of the county.
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