Rural areas top breath test charge table as festive drinkers are warned of risks


More motorists are charged with drink-driving in largely rural areas, an investigation suggests.

Figures obtained by the Press Association indicate Lincolnshire prosecutes the most per population, followed by North Wales, Warwickshire, Dyfed-Powys and North Yorkshire.

The results, based on Freedom of Information requests, prompted calls for better public transport in rural areas and warnings to anyone tempted to drink and drive over the festive period.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

A total of 31 forces out of 45 provided figures over a 12 month period to May 2017.

The results showed that Lincolnshire charged 1,035 motorists, 14 per 10,000 population.

North Wales Police was second with 11.2 charges per 10,000 followed by Warwickshire Police with 10.5, Dyfed-Powys with 9.5 and North Yorkshire with 9.2.

Inspector Ewan Gell, of Lincolnshire's serious collision investigation unit, said the figures showed officers were "skilled at catching offenders".

But he added: "If we are at the top of that chart I think there is a problem with drink-driving in Lincolnshire and we need to work very carefully to get the education message across to make sure we get those figures down.

"The only way you can change drink and drug-driving behaviour is by fear of getting caught and what these figures say to me is that we are good at catching people, so that is the message we will be putting out, we are very effective at targeting individuals who drink-drive."

Tory MP John Hayes, whose South Holland and the Deepings seat is in the county, has been vocal about the problem of drink-driving and suggested it may be down to scarcity of public transport in some areas.

"Drink-driving is clearly a problem in Lincolnshire and it does have its consequences.

"I am pleased Lincolnshire Police take it very seriously and proud they have charged so many offenders.

"It's our job to now get the education message out there that it will not be tolerated."

Together with @DerbyshireRPU and @CRESTDerbyshire, we're promoting the message #DontDrinkAndDrive as our annual #Christmas drink-drive campaign kicks off today - and we've taken a novel approach to getting the message out this year.

-- Derbyshire Police (@DerbysPolice) December 1, 2017

AA president Edmund King also said the figures could relate to poorer public transport.

He added: "It could also be down to more targeted police enforcement, but whatever the reasons, there is no excuse for drink-driving."

Inspector Dave Cust, of the North Wales Police Roads Policing Unit, said: "We have a robust strategy around enforcing the 'Fatal 5' offences, which includes drink-driving.

"People should be aware that we have detailed tactical plans that include targeting specific areas following information given to us by concerned members of the community."