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Eight arrested on testing’s first weekend

Drink-driving arrests were almost double the monthly average at the weekend as roadside breath test checkpoints were deployed for the first time.

Police arrested eight people for drink-driving last Friday and Saturday nights.

That compared with one over the same period the week before.

Police recorded nine arrests over the same two days the weekend before and four on the weekend before that — an average of 4.6 arrests for the three weekends.

However, police expect arrest rates to decline as roadside sobriety checkpoints become fixtures on the island's roads.

Chief Inspector Robert Cardwell, who is in charge of roads policing, said: “We expect that impaired driving numbers will fall as we increase the instances of doing roadside sobriety checks and the drink-driving culture starts to wane.”

Police said six men and two women were arrested in the weekend roadside blitz.

The highest reading recorded at Hamilton Police Station, the test used as evidence in court, was 273 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood — almost 3½ times the legal limit of 80mg/100ml.

Two other road users blew 160mg/100ml — twice the limit.

Another four road users were recorded at above 91mg/100ml.

Another refused a roadside test and will be charged with failure to provide a sample of breath.

Mr Cardwell said the vast majority of the public had co-operated with the new checks. But he added two riders had driven through checkpoints, although they were later caught.

Mr Cardwell said: “The majority of drivers we stopped knew why we were there as a result of the publicity we brought to this in the week leading up.

“Some thanked us for our effort or commented that they appreciated us.

“Others questioned what we were doing and we simply advised what it was we were doing and this seemed to satisfy them. We were not subject to any abuse in the first two days of running roadside sobriety checks.”

Mr Cardwell added that officers deployed at the checkpoints, set up in Paget and Devonshire, had performed well.

He said: “I gave them a pep talk before we left the office. I asked them to maintain the highest professional standards regardless of what negativity they were confronted with.

“For the most part, negative interactions were very few.”

A total of 21 people were asked to do field sobriety tests — 14 men and seven women.

Safety measure: roadside sobriety checkpoints in operation on Saturday (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published September 25, 2018 at 9:00 am (Updated September 25, 2018 at 9:38 am)

Eight arrested on testing’s first weekend

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