The number of drivers being breathalysed has declined significantly since austerity began in 2010. The number of drivers being tested has dropped from 736,846 in 2010 to 463,319 last year. Overstretched traffic police are letting many drivers get away with drink driving, despite the obvious risks to people’s safety. Regular testing would reduce drink driving and reduce casualties, however, it has become harder for the police to enforce the rules of the road as their numbers have been cut. The number of traffic police in England and Wales continued to fall last year, from 5338 in 2010 down to 3436 in 2016.
If we don’t enforce the rules of the road then road users have less and less respect for them, as they calculate that they will probably get away with it. I hope that the police will use the Christmas period to send out a message that drink driving is socially unacceptable.
The police also need to make this part of their year-round enforcement by ensuring that everyone involved in a collision is automatically tested. The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) agreed that this would happen back in 1996, but areas like London only test 23% of drivers involved in a collision, compared to the North West which tests 58% of post-crash drivers.