Drink-drive warning to motorists

PUBLISHED: 12:27 04 November 2008 | UPDATED: 14:47 20 April 2010

CHRISTMAS is a notorious blackspot for drink-driving. Figures released from Honiton show half of drink-drivers were caught during the festive period.

CHRISTMAS is a notorious blackspot for drink-driving. Figures released from Honiton show half of drink-drivers were caught during the festive period. Once again, police have threatened to crack down on drivers who run the drink-drive gauntlet. Police admitted that, although drink-drive numbers had fallen, there remains a hardcore rogue element who continue to wreak death, destruction and misery on the roads. Of the 32 arrested for drink driving in Honiton, 12 per cent were caught in November 2007, 18 per cent in December 2007, and 15 per cent in January 2008. Sergeant David Sheldrake, from Axminster police, said: "We all know the dangers of drink-driving. I would advise people not to take a vehicle when they go out. Then they can't be tempted to drive it home. Alternatively, have a designated driver." There was less of a correlation with the season and the numbers caught drink-driving in Seaton and Axminster. Seaton averaged one drink-driver caught a month, and Axminster less than one. Figures for Axminster peaked in February, when 40 per cent of drink drivers were caught. PC Darren Herridge said the higher numbers in Honiton reflected the population and through traffic. He added that, with more officers in the area, there would also be a higher proportion of people stopped. Sergeant Gary Phillips, from Seaton, said police would increase the frequency of its speed checks at Christmas. He said: "When we stop vehicles to ticket or advise about excess speed, it will become apparent to officers if the driver has consumed intoxicating liquor. "This is as relevant in the morning as it is in the evening. In general, people need to be mindful of the volume of alcohol consumed the evening before." It takes around one hour for a single unit of alcohol to be processed by the body - depending on metabolic rates. This increases with spirits, and such drinkers need to be even more concerned. In Devon, a total of 276 people were caught drink-driving between December 1, 2007, and January 1, 2008 - a drop of 18 per cent from last year's 335. Inspector Richard Pryce, of the Force's Roads Policing Unit, was pleased numbers had dropped but that a 'hardcore minority' continued to drink and drive. He said: "The message appears to be getting through that drinking and driving shows contempt for the law and a disregard for the safety of other road-users, causing death, suffering and misery for those involved." Those convicted of drink-driving can expect to lose their driving licence for at least a year, be fined up to £5,000 and face six months in jail. Causing death or serious injury while under the influence of alcohol carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

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