Christmas breath test failures down

Police breath-tested more drivers over Christmas, while the proportion failing the test fell.

The fall in the failure rate included a dip among young drivers aged 20-24, said the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo).

In December 2012, police in England and Wales tested 175,831 drivers, of whom 7,123 - or 4.05% - either failed the test or refused to take it.

This compared with figures for December 2011 which showed that 7,124 failed or refused the test out of 156,569 tested - a failure rate of 4.55%.

However, the 2012 figures were above those of December 2010 where only 6,662 - or 3.91% - failed or refused out of a total of 170,552.

Acpo said it had breath-tested more than 1,000 extra drivers in the 20-24 age group in December 2012 compared to 2011.

The December 2012 figures show that there were 104 fewer young drivers failing tests compared with 2011.

The total number of tests included those involved in collisions and also non-collision drivers.

The number who failed a test following a collision rose last month as did the number of arrests made after a collision in which drivers had been tested for being under the influence of drugs.

Acpo's roads policing head Deputy Chief Constable Suzette Davenport said: "It's good to see that yet again the majority of drivers are responsible and sensible. Our results show that by far the majority of drivers stopped did not drink or take drugs and drive."