In the Summertime…

…don’t drink if you’re driving is the warning from local police.

As the region basks in some long-overdue sunshine, figures released today show the proportion of drivers who got behind the wheel while over the drink-drive limit increased during the first month of this summer, for the second year running.

The West Midlands saw an increase of 18.7% in the number of drivers who tested positive or failed the breath test procedure during this year’s

summer drink and drug driving campaign by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). A total of 1,746 people were stopped and breath tested during the month-long campaign in June. 253 of those 1,746 drivers (14.5%) had results which made them liable to arrest, compared to 213 of 1,704 drivers (12.5%) during the same period last year.

The number of under-25s who tested positive remained roughly stable, with a small decrease of positive breath tests from 16% to 15%. In contrast, the number of over-25s who tested positive, refused to provide or failed the test increased from 140 last year to 202 this June. Officers arrested 24 drivers on suspicion of being unfit to drive through drink or drugs.

Inspector Greg Jennings, from the force’s Traffic Unit and who led this year’s campaign, said: “Drink and drug driving remains a significant contributor to deaths on the roads and the summer months represent a peak in that danger.

“During June, West Midlands Police targeted the small minority who selfishly continue to risk their own lives and those of innocent parties. Whilst on patrol responding to road accidents and during targeted operations we have subjected 1,746 drivers to breath tests because of their driving. 253 failed those tests and a further 24 were arrested because they appeared unfit to drive through drink or drugs.”

He added, “We remain committed to supporting the national and international campaigns to make our roads safer and these results show that there is a considerable risk of being caught if you drive under the influence of drink or drugs.”

“Drivers are putting themselves at risk of losing their licence, large fines and imprisonment as well as the guilt and shame of ruining the lives of others.

“The summer of 2012 is a unique and exciting time for Great Britain with Olympic teams and events here in the West Midlands. We hope that everyone will enjoy this summer and drivers will act responsibly in the knowledge that the only safe level of alcohol to drive with is zero. Drinking any alcohol consumption will impair your ability to drive.”