More than half of drivers fail roadside drugs tests

More tests were carried out in Lancashire in 2016 than in previous campaigns
More tests were carried out in Lancashire in 2016 than in previous campaigns

More than half or drivers tested for drugs in a December crackdown gave positive samples at the roadside.

Christmas drink and drug drive figures released by Lancashire Police also show more than 130 drivers failed roadside breath tests for alcohol - a slight percentage increase over previous years.

The majority of drug drive tests were carried out in Western Division - which includes Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre as well as Lancaster and Morecambe.

There, 20 out of 31 drivers swabbed for either cannabis or cocaine failed the test.

That figure, representing 65 per cent of those tested, was higher than the total number tested in 2015.

In South Division, covering Preston, Chorley and Leyland only four tests were carried out, resulting in one failure.

A total of 28 positive samples were provided from 48 tests carried out across the county with a failure rate of 58 per cent recorded.

Western Division also saw the highest number of drivers breathalysed, with 1,398 drivers stopped during the month-long campaign.

The area had the lowest failure rate in the county, with 49 drivers, 3.6 per cent of the total, testing positive.

That compares to 44 out of 942 in the Preston area - 4.9 per cent of motorists stopped.

Of a total 3,266 test carried out in Lancashire, 133 drivers failed or refused to provide a sample.

The 4.2 per cent county-wide tally was up on 2015.

And police made it clear they would continue to clamp down on drivers flouting the law and putting others in danger.

Supt Jonathan Puttock of Lancashire Police, said: "Drinking or taking drugs when driving is unacceptable at any time of the year and our efforts to catch those responsible will continue in a bid to make our roads safer."

Supt Puttock said police had put extra efforts into targeting drink and drug drive hotspots over the festive period, with 'morning after' drivers a particular focus.

He said: “This year we carried out more targeted activity specifically around hotspot areas. We also targeted times of day when people might have been drinking the night before but were tempted to get behind the wheel the morning after.

“Unfortunately 133 people still thought it acceptable to drink and drive risking their licence, jobs, lives and even worse putting others at risk. What is a disappointing is that more than half of the drugs tests conducted registered a positive result, showing that again some people chose to not only put their own lives in serious danger, but the lives of everyone around them by driving under the influence.

“Just one drink or drug driver on the roads of Lancashire is always one too many. We will continue to carry out regular enforcement activity and take action against those who continue to break the law.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw said: “Drink and drug-driving will not be tolerated here in Lancashire and it is our job to divert these motorists from getting behind the wheel before they ruin lives with such mindless acts.

“We are committed to making Lancashire’s roads as safe as possible and these targeted campaigns in December make a real difference at the time of year when the dangers of drink driving should be at the forefront of everyone’s mind. “I also hope that this is a reminder for motorists all year round that we will continue to take necessary action to ensure our roads are free from drug and drink drivers.”

Breath tests

Eastern Division: 2016 - 926 tested, 40 failed or refused (4.5%) 2015 -844 tested, 25 failed or refused (3%)

South Division: 2016 - 942 tested, 44 failed or refused (4.9 %) 2015 - 922 tested, 41 failed or refused (4.5%)

Western Division: 2016 1,398 tested, 49 failed or refused (3.6%) 2015 - 1,299 tested, 52 failed or refused (4%)

Lancashire: 2016 3,266 tested, 133 failed or refused (4.2%) 2015 - 3,065 tested, 118 failed or refused (3.8%)

Drugs tests

2016

Eastern Division - 13 tested, 7 failed (54%)

South Division - 4 tested, 1 failed (25%)

Western Division - 31 tested, 20 failed (65 %)

Lancashire - 48 tested, 28 failed (58%)

2015

Lancashire - 19 tested, 11 failed (58%)