Last year’s snow put the brakes on drink driving

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DRINK-driving rates were at their lowest all year last December.

Figures released to the Courier after a Freedom of Information request show 10 people were convicted after being caught over the limit at the wheel during the festive season.

It was less than half the number in May, when 21 people went on to be convicted of drink driving and one was sentenced for refusing to provide a breath or blood sample.

The average monthly number of arrests leading to a conviction for either offence was 16.

Last year’s snow and ice may have played a role in December’s low figures.

“Widespread wintry weather across Calderdale could have made an impact as public driving patterns were altered,” a report accompanying the figures stated.

“Many motorists resorted to foot, public transport or staying at home as temperatures plunged below freezing.”

Police have been cracking down hard on drink driving over the Christmas party season as part of a campaign by the Association of Chief Police Officers.

Police said: “The force typically sees a threefold increase in the number of roadside breath tests over December compared with the rest of the year.

“In December 2010, over 3,500 roadside tests were carried out in West Yorkshire, with 246 of those over the legal limit.

“Since the start of the campaign on December 1, 2011, the force has arrested 133 people on suspicion of drink driving in West Yorkshire, which is slightly down on the same period for last year but 35 of these arrests were made over the weekend of December 16 to December 18.”.

Chief Inspector Neil Hunter, the head of roads policing in West Yorkshire, said: “The possible consequences of drink driving can be devastating and long lasting for both driver and victim of any incident.”

Inspector Dorian James, head of road police in Calderdale, added: “It’s easy to still be over the limit if you drive the morning after you have consumed alcohol and we deal just as firmly with these as any others.

“There is no excuse for being over the limit and driving at any time of the day.”