More than 56,000 tests conducted in national Christmas drink and drug drive operation

More than 56,000 tests conducted in national Christmas drink and drug drive operation

Policing’s national operation to tackle drink and drug driving has seen consistently high results for the second year running, with more than 6,600 motorists arrested for offences.

Many police forces undertake a proactive operation around Christmas each year to increase breath testing and targeted vehicle stops for drivers suspected of being under the influence. Christmas 2022 saw the first national operation, called Op Limit, to coordinate this activity across the country – bringing together all police forces in a concerted effort to remove drink and drug drivers from our roads.

2023 saw all police forces take part in the operation, engaging in education and awareness events, communications around the risks of driving under the influence, targeted vehicle stops in hot spot areas and intelligence led patrols.

Nearly 50,000 breath tests (49,812) were conducted with almost 10% (9.5)of those testing positive, failed or refused. 6,846 drug tests were conducted with nearly 50% (48.5) of those testing positive.

84% of drink or drug driving offenders were male with 74% 25 years old or over. 6,616 arrests were made for drink and drug driving offences and 1,589 individuals were charged.

The 2022 Operation Limit did not require police forces to report back on individuals charged so the 2023 charge figure is not comparable.

South Wales Police officers conducted 3,145 breath tests and 203 drug tests as part of the national campaign.

One hundred and fifty seven were found to be over the drink drive limit, and 87 of those who were tested for drugs gave a positive result.

Roads Policing Inspector Michael Prickett said:

“I am extremely proud of my officers for their work in taking these drivers off the streets.

“This was an exceptionally busy period with drink drive arrests increasing by 2.6% and drug drive arrests increasing by 70% since 2022.

“Unfortunately, many people continue to choose to drive whilst under the influence of alcohol and drugs, and this has a devastating impact on communities and individuals.

“Although the festive period is over, officers will continue to pursue those who are determined to break the law.

“If you’re found to be over the drink-drive limit, and/or driving while impaired by drugs, not only can receive a criminal record, but you can also get a maximum penalty of six months in prison, an unlimited fine and an automatic driving ban of at least one year.”

Mike’s story

On Christmas Day last year, Mike Fealey was preparing to spend the day with his father Ron and the rest of their family, as was tradition every year. 

Mike had opened presents with his grandson and Ron was due to come over later in the day to continue the celebrations.

By mid-morning the family was told that Ron had been in an accident the previous evening on his way back from church. He was in a critical condition, and they needed to attend University Hospital Wales as soon as possible.

By Boxing Day, Mike and his family said goodbye as they made the difficult decision to turn off Ron’s life support.

Ron, who was 82 and a retired nurse, enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as well as going to the gym twice a week. He was an active committee member of Dowlais RFC and was church treasurer at St Illtyd’s Church in Dowlais.

On Christmas Eve last year, he was hit by a drunk driver in Merthyr Tydfil, as he was walking back from mass.

“The fact that the accident happened the way that it did felt like such a waste.

“He was just walking home from church, and then this person for no reason at all just hit him on the zebra crossing, and so it seemed like a series of terrible decisions that led to my father dying.

“It’s just that whereas Christmas normally would be something really good to look forward to, now there’s that sense of dread because you know what’s coming and who’s not going to be there.

“I think if anyone’s making the decision to drink and drive, or take drugs and drive, it’s just a no-win situation” added Mike.

“For the simple sake of a decision that’ll take seconds, you are possible going to ruin your own life as well as somebody else’s.”

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Team @ AberdareOnline

Team @ AberdareOnline

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