Rising number of young drink-drivers in Hull and East Riding causing concern for police
POLICE have said they are concerned by a rising number of young drink-drivers.
Officers caught 21 drink-drivers under the age of 25 in Hull and the East Riding during the force's Christmas campaign.
PC Keith Ward, casualty reduction officer for Hull, said: "They are still not getting the message, which is worrying.
"In the East Riding, it is a particular concern because there are greater distances to travel and so the temptation to drive increases.
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"Young people's lifestyles have changed now, with many drinking at home before they go out. It is also popular to drink shots of spirits, which means they are also consuming more alcohol.
"We know young people are more likely to take risks, but that isn't good enough.
"We don't want people to be injured or killed because of stupidity."
The number of young drink-drivers was at its highest in the summer of 2011, when one in five young drivers stopped in the East Riding was over the limit.
Since then, it has fallen significantly, although the numbers have started to climb again.
During last summer's campaign, almost one in 25 young drivers was over the limit – rising to almost one in 20 over Christmas.
PC Simon Carlisle, casualty reduction officer for the East Riding, said: "It is upsetting to see an increase in young drink-drivers in the East Riding.
"We know travel options are more limited in rural areas, so young people may be more likely to take that risk than people in built-up areas.
"We will carry on going into sixth forms and colleges to talk to young people about the important choices they make when they get behind the wheel."
In the East Riding, officers used an unmarked car to stop drivers emerging from rural pubs.
They also visited the pubs to speak to landlords and hand out leaflets about the dangers of drink-driving.
PC Carlisle said: "We targeted the pubs near roads where there have been accidents caused by drink-drivers.
"Some of these pubs are right in the middle of nowhere, so we used an unmarked car to stop cars coming out of them in the afternoons and weekends.
"I think that showed people we are out there and we would catch people, so it deterred others."
Despite launching a specific team to crack down on drug-drivers, officers only carried out five field impairment tests in Hull and three in the East Riding.
PC Ward said: "We tend to find drug and alcohol use is often mixed, so we go with the one that is easier to prove.
"Through the specific drug team, we have found some people in possession of drugs, so there were arrests for that, although none for impairment through drugs specifically."
Overall, the number of people caught drink-driving has fallen compared with last year's Christmas campaign.
In Hull, 1,520 drivers were breathalysed during November and December, with 55 found to be over the limit – 3.6 per cent.
Last year, that figure was 5.9 per cent of drivers.
In the East Riding, 56 of 1,054 drivers stopped also failed a breath test – 5.3 per cent, the same as last year.
PC Ward said: "It is good to see a reduction in Hull overall, which hopefully means people are taking on board the safety message.
"Although we increase our efforts over Christmas, catching drink-drivers is something we do 365 days of the year.
"We are always looking out for them and we will catch them."
PC Ward said many of the drivers who were caught had been reported to police by members of the public.
He said: "I would like to thank those people that did contact us.
"We had a lot of calls during the operation and I would encourage people to continue to contact us if they have any concerns."
Ellen Booth, senior campaigns officer at road safety charity Brake, said: "Risking lives by drinking alcohol or taking drugs and driving – even a small amount – is appallingly selfish, reckless and idiotic.
"Everyone can play a role in stamping out drink and drug-driving and the terrible tragedies that result.
"If you know someone who takes the risk, don't let it go, speak to them.
"It could save their life or someone else's."