Drink drive concern.

The Daily Telegraph has reported that the latest drink diving statistics published by the Department for Transport have shown that the proportion of young drivers either testing positive or refusing to take a test at all rose by 15 per cent over the past year.

Road safety and motoring groups voiced alarm at the trend, which they said coincided with a cut in Government spending on anti-drink drive campaigns, which fell from £3.4 million in 2009-10 to £550,000 in the current financial year.

While the number of people caught drink driving fell, this was a reflection of a reduction in the number of breath tests being carried out by the police, which was 12 per cent down on last summer.

However the proportion of motorists who either refused to take a test or testing positive was more than eight per cent up on 2009, according to the figures which were released by the Association of Chief Police Officers.

“The percentage rise in the number of people caught drink-driving is very concerning – particularly amongst younger drivers,” said John Franklin, an RAC spokesman.

This confirms the worrying statistics in this year’s RAC Report on Motoring which found that 23% of drivers under the age of 25 had driven when they suspected they were over the limit. This compares with the figure of 16% for all drivers – which is another worrying statistic.

“The fear is that these figures are showing that the cuts in Government road safety campaigns are causing more drivers to risk driving under the influence.

“The dangers of drink-driving needs to be continually spelt out by Government in order to prevent a generation from thinking it’s acceptable.”

Ellen Booth, of the road safety pressure group, Brake, added. “These statistics show that a shocking number of drivers are wilfully taking huge risks with their lives and the lives of others.

“It is vitally important there is an effective deterrent to stop drivers who know the risks involved in drink driving, but decide to do it anyway.“

Mike Penning, the road safety minister, said the figures showed that police were working more effectively.

“The results of the police summer enforcement campaign suggests by targeting resources more effectively, police forces are tackling those who are most likely to drive over the limit.”

He added: “It is vital that we spend taxpayers’ money where it can make the most difference. That is why we continue to run Christmas drink drive campaigns targeted at those groups who are most likely to offend.”

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dbda is a corporate social responsibility consultancy embracing education and safety in the community. We are privileged to work with a large number of blue chip corporate clients, Government organisations, charitable bodies, Institutes and local authorities. We also have a network of schools, professional bodies, associations, universities and partners, with whom we regularly work in collaboration.

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