Pirate FM News 3 minute read

Breath tests fall to a record low in Cornwall and Devon

Breath tests fall to a record low in Cornwall and Devon

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 7:30am 17th November 2019. (Updated at 7:37am 17th November 2019)

It has been revealed that police officers carried out a record-low number of alcohol breath tests on drivers in Devon and Cornwall last year.

Road safety charity Brake says the decline is symptomatic of “savage cuts” to police numbers, and is calling for better funding and a zero tolerance drink-drive limit.

Home Office statistics show that 10,159 breath tests were conducted by Devon and Cornwall Police in 2018 – the lowest number since records began in 2002.

Of those last year, drivers failed or refused to do 1,551 – 15% of all tests.

Meanwhile, Department for Transport figures show that drink-driving contributed to 217 accidents attended by officers in the area last year.

The drop in the number of tests reflects the trend across England and Wales, where 321,000 were done last year – a record low.

police officer

Brake says slashed budgets have left police forces less able to do checks on potentially dangerous drink-drivers.

“Couple that with the fact that the number of positive breath tests increased, and it shows that drink-driving remains a serious issue on our roads.

“Brake is calling for the Government to implement a zero tolerance drink-drive limit, making clear to drivers that not a drop of alcohol is safe, and increase investment in national roads policing to provide the police with the resources they need to tackle the menace of drink-driving.”

Brake spokesperson

Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at the RAC, said that while the crime is less socially acceptable than in the past, the battle has not yet been won.

“More road traffic police officers enforcing laws and more breath tests would certainly be welcome, but this should be accompanied by high-profile awareness campaigns.

“The advice to drivers is simple – if you are going out and plan to consume any alcohol whatsoever, leave your vehicle at home and make alternative travel arrangements.”

Nicholas Lyes, RAC

breathalyser

Police can make someone take a breath test if they suspect they have been driving, or trying to drive, with alcohol in their body.

They can also order one if the driver has committed a traffic offence while their vehicle is moving, or if they have been involved in an accident.

It is a crime to refuse a breath test, unless the driver has a reasonable excuse, such as a medical condition.

A Home Office spokesman said a fall in the number of tests could be down to various factors, including increased awareness of the law, and police prosecuting drivers under more serious offences, or choosing other enforcement methods such as education courses.

“We are giving police the tools they need, including recruiting 20,000 new police officers over the next three years, and making it easier for them to use stop and search powers.”

Home Office

Pirate FM has asked Devon and Cornwall Police for a statement and is waiting for a response.

You can find the source data here and here.

Contact Us

If you would like to submit a query or provide more information on this story please get in touch below.

Please wait...
  • Up to 3 JPG or PNG images, 2MB max size
  • We will always endeavour to credit you when we publish your pictures.
  • By uploading you are agreeing to this non-exclusive reuse, royalty-free, across all Pirate FM platforms, which extends to our partner broadcasters.
  • You retain copyright to all images.
  • If you would like to send us a video, please upload to YouTube or similar and paste the video URL into the message above.
Email Icon

Sign up for exclusive news, competitions and offers.
Proper Local News updates from Pirate FM

Suggested articles

New campaign to help victims of crime in Cornwall and Devon

Cornwall News: Support is still available during the coronavirus crisis

68 dogs stolen in Cornwall and Devon last year

Cornwall News: Here is the list of breeds which are most at risk...

Newer articles

Palm oil on beaches around north coast of Cornwall

Cornwall News: Owners are being warned to keep pets well away

Urgent appeal from storm-hit surf life saving club

Cornwall News: Crantock needs cash for repairs and to future-proof its clubhouse

Older articles

"Can you arrange for the dolphins to put on a display"

Cornwall News: Travelodge is revealing its most bizarre requests in Cornwall

Men jailed for cons from Cornwall to Lancashire

Cornwall News: A court heard this trio swindled farmers out of their life savings

Most read

Cafes and pubs allowed extra outdoor seating in Cornwall

Cornwall News: It is to help as they reopen from the lockdown measures

Pirate Extra Pirate 70s Escape LoveCornwall