Fifth more drivers caught drunk behind the wheel in Mid Ulster than last winter

Breathalyser. Stock image
Breathalyser. Stock image

The number of people caught drink driving by police in Mid Ulster has increased by a fifth from last year.

Over the 2016/17 festive period police were given new powers to stop and breathalyse all drivers, which has resulted in a 20% increase in those going before the courts.

The total number of people caught in the whole of Northern Ireland was 383, 85 per cent of whom were male. The PSNI has also revealed that the oldest person stopped this year was 80 and the youngest 17, with the highest breath reading recorded at over four times the legal limit (149µg).

On the whole the number of drivers and motorcyclists found drink driving during the 2016/17 winter anti-drink drive operation is down by 4%, compared to the same time last year.

In Mid Ulster however, that trend is reversed with 34 caught this year, compared to 28 during 2015/16. Commenting on the figures, Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said: “When we launched this operation at the end of November, we warned drivers not to take the risk because we would be using new legislation to perform random breath tests at vehicle checkpoints day and night across the country.

“We tested nearly 11,000 people – a 125% increase in the number of preliminary roadside breath tests compared with the previous operation. 383 People failed those tests; so once again, it is difficult to accept these figures as a success.

“One person was detected at over four times the drink drive limit, with a reading of 149 micrograms of alcohol in 100ml of breath while the legal limit is 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100ml of breath. We’ve had people literally falling out of their cars.”