Road Safety News

Drink drive figures highlight young driver issue

Wednesday 21st January 2015

Figures released by ACPO following the 2014 festive drink/drug drive campaign show a hike in the percentage of young drivers who tested positive.

Chief constable Suzette Davenport, ACPO’s lead for roads policing, cited a “more intelligence-led approach” which resulted in a significant reduction in the number of tests administered, but a higher percentage failure rate.

In total, 133,996 tests were administered in December 2014, with a failure rate of 4.39%. The comparable figures in December 2013 were 191,040 tests and a failure rate of 3.42%.

The failure rate for tests administered following a collision was 7.43% in December 2014, compared to 5.7% the previous year. The failure rate for tests administered where there was not a collision was 3.73% in 2014 compared with 3.0% the previous December.

Of the 28,228 people under the age of 25yrs who were tested, some 6.33% failed, compared to a failure rate of 3.94% among the over-25s.

The failure rate of 6.33% among young drivers was significantly up on previous years – 4.41% in 2013, 5.27% in 2012 and 5.73% in 2012.

Chief Constable Davenport said: “The use of an intelligence-led approach by officers may give the impression of members of the public not taking seriously the consequences of driving under the influence, but I am confident that our messages on the topic are getting through. Targeted testing is helping officers to pick up on offending in a more efficient way.

“Younger drivers, who are balancing the development of their skills and responsibilities as drivers with the natural enjoyments and explorations of their formative years as adults, are, unsurprisingly, more likely to take risks.

“I will be looking very carefully at these figures and discussing them with colleagues around the police service, as well as with Government and partner agencies so that, between us, we can ensure that we have the best possible regime of advice and enforcement needed to keep our roads safe from those who recklessly drive while intoxicated.”


Comment on this story
Report a reader comment

What's your view - comment on this story:

I confirm that I have read and accept the moderation policy and house rules relating to comments posted on this website.
Your comment:
Your name and location:
Your email:

For anyone not aware, you can see long term breath test data up to 2012 (for whole year, not just Christmas period) here:
Tim Lennon, Department for Transport

Agree (3) | Disagree (0)

Only a small increase, but the risk takers are undeterred as the risk of detection lowers. Few tests, more positives. I would like to see how some Chief Cons spin this as roads policing is the first to be cut every round of savings. Seeing a traffic car is almost a trip to a museum these days. Cameras only detect middle England who register cars and insure them, the 'grey' cars used by criminals do not get stopped, but get pinged by ANPR as there is no one out there to do it. Driving standards are appalling as behaviour gets worse.
Olly Lancs

Agree (6) | Disagree (0)

This illustrates how unhelpful a few selected numbers are. Graphs showing trends over 5-10 years would be far clearer and should be used routinely for this sort of reporting.
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Researcher, St Albans

Agree (8) | Disagree (4)

Thanks Nick - yes, makes perfect sense.
Matt Staton, Cambridgeshire

Agree (3) | Disagree (0)

The full stats are available on the ACPO news release via the link in the story above. The reason we chose not to lead on the hike in post-collision test fails in 2014, was that it was only a one year hike. The post test fail rates for 2012 & 2011 were 7.39 & 6.92% respectively. Therefore the 2014 figure was broadly in line with earlier years, and the 2013 figure looks low in comparison.

Hope that makes sense!
Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety News

Agree (4) | Disagree (0)

The stand out figure for me here is the large increase in the post-collision failure rate - 7.43% compared to 5.7% in 2013. Would be useful to have a comparative figure for percentage of drivers tested post-collision though?
Matt Staton, Cambridgeshire

Agree (5) | Disagree (0)