TWENTY-FOUR people were arrested for drink driving in Banbridge over Christmas.
The figures were released as part of the PSNI winter drink driving campaign which revealed 364 arrests across Northern Ireland. All 24 people arrested in Banbridge were tested at the local police station and will face a drink driving charge in court.
There were 67 people detected for drink-driving in E District this year - up one from 66 last year. The overall figure for Northern Ireland includes motorists who were unfit to drive, or who were unable or refused to give a sample.
PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland expressed his shock and disbelief at the figures, especially in light of the dangerous driving conditions caused by extreme weather conditions last month.
“It’s astounding that despite some of the worst weather and driving conditions in living memory, 364 people still took the risk of killing or injuring themselves, their family, friends and other innocent road users by deciding to drive after drinking,” said Constable McCausland.
“Our aim with this and every road safety initiative is to save lives and reduce injuries, which is why, despite the arctic weather conditions, we ran operations day and night throughout the festive season and not just during the weekends or key dates.
“During this operation, we stopped and performed roadside preliminary breath tests on 4,357 drivers. While that’s nearly 25 per cent less than during last year’s operation, considering the greatly reduced level of traffic due to the treacherous weather, it is frightening that 364 people failed those tests.
“They begin 2011 with the prospect of going to court where they will almost certainly lose their driving licence. They should count themselves lucky. They could have lost their own life or destroyed the lives of others had police not stopped them.
”While we welcome the fact that the vast majority of right thinking people realise that drink driving is shameful and unacceptable, clearly there is still an irresponsible minority who ignore all advice and warnings. Whilst the current publicity campaign has ended, the detection of drink driving will remain a year-round priority for police.”
Assistant Chief Constable McCausland said road users should always be aware of how their actions can have dire consequences.
“If everyone slowed down, did not drive after drinking or taking drugs, wore a seatbelt and drove with greater care and attention then together, it will be possible to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads.”