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12August2013

Drivers in Wales more likely to be breathalysed

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M.A.J. LAW

Drivers in Wales are more likely to be breathalysed than in most areas of England.

Latest figures on the numbers of motorists breathalysed for being over the drink drive limit and handed fixed penalty notices for driving offences have been released by the Home Office.

The figures released show that North Wales and Dyfed-Powys police forces breathalyse more motorists than anywhere else in the England and Wales.

In Dyfed-Powys, one in 29 people have been breathalysed, and one in 26 in North Wales.

The overall rate of motorists being breathalysed in Wales in 2011-12 was more than twice that for England.

However, in England, there is a higher percentage of tests giving a positive result for alcohol or being refused by the driver.

Drivers in Gwent are most likely in Wales to be handed a fixed penalty notice for driving offences, with 46 per 1,000 – the third-highest in England and Wales.

This is because Gwent Police Force still has the responsibility for handing out parking tickets, with most other forces handing the responsibility over to local authorities.

Between 2007-08 and 2011-12, Dyfed-Powys police saw a 150% surge in the number of motorists caught using mobile phones while driving, with 2,160 caught in 2011-12.

Seatbelt offences were also up 60%, with 2,783 penalty notices handed to motorists in 2011-12.

North Wales Police has surprisingly cut down on the use of fixed penalty notices in recent years down from 42,000 handed out in 2007-08 to 11,000 in 2011-12.

A spokeswoman for Dyfed-Powys Police said the force runs a number of campaigns to tackle drink and drug driving, seatbelt offences, mobile phone offences, speeding and careless driving.

Chief inspector Darren Wareing of North Wales Police said the force proactively stops drivers during its Christmas and summer anti-drink driving campaigns, adding: ‘As a result of this tactic last Christmas there was not a single alcohol related road incident in North Wales. Not one. No one injured and no one killed.’

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