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Thursday, 27 November 2014

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Cumbria one of the worst areas in country for drink drivers

Cumbria has one of the highest rates of drink driving in the UK.

According to a new study by the Institute of Advanced Motorists and MoneySupermarket.com, the CA postcode area is in the top 10 worst for insurance applications from motorists with a drink or drug conviction.

One in every 166 applications is from someone with a conviction, compared to one in 250 on average. The worst area was Harrogate, with one in 100.

Chief Inspector Kevin Greenhow, head of Roads Policing with the Cumbrian force, was not surprised.

“If you think of the nature of the county, it’s very rural,” he said. “It’s linked by a lot of isolated roads and travel is expensive by taxi and the public transport system is difficult to use.

“If you add to that that it’s a holiday destination and some people drink more on holiday, there’s the potential for more offences.”

Chief Insp Greenhow said the problem had started to increase again slightly, compared to several years ago when arrests were on a downward trend.

He said officers had also started to see more younger people drink driving and believed the message had not got through to them.

“Older people like me – who remember when the problem was more prevalent – we got the message, because it was targeted at me and my parents,” he said. “Perhaps we got a bit complacent at getting the message through to the younger generation.”

Chief Insp Greenhow pointed out the high figure also proved police were catching and convicting those responsible, he added.

He did not believe it was a case of those drinking and driving were just unaware of how much they had drunk, or what the limits were, and were just slightly over.

“Most people who are over the limit are sufficiently over it to know they are,” he said. “It’s rare to see someone only just over.”

This year’s Christmas campaign is underway and officers are focusing on late night and early morning drivers.

During last year’s seasonal crackdown, around 3,300 drivers were breathalysed – 100 a day. Three a day were arrested and a total of 96 either failed or refused a test. Thirty per cent of these were under the age 25.

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