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Police say don’t drink and drive message could be getting through to road users

Police are mounting roadside breath test checkpoints over the Christmas period (File photograph)

There have been no drink-driving arrests or collisions reported from a Christmas clampdown so far, it was revealed yesterday.

Chief Inspector Robert Cardwell said the news could mean that the do “not drink and drive” message had at last got through to the public.

He added: “Several motorists have undergone testing on the roadside breath-testing device.

“The results detected minimal amounts of alcohol with no one failing the test.

“To date through this week, no one has been arrested at a roadside breath-testing site.

“There have been no arrests for impaired driving at all for the week — inside or outside sobriety checkpoints.

“We have also had no collisions this week where alcohol was a factor.”

Mr Cardwell added: “We are pleased with this result. We have noted the use of designated drivers and feel the thrust behind messaging, that if you drink and drive the chances of being caught are high, is hitting home.”

An extra team of reserve police officers was deployed to checkpoint duty this week and the police support unit and gang unit were diverted to the drink-driving campaign.

Checkpoints started on Monday in the central parishes — Hamilton, Devonshire, Pembroke and Paget — and will continue until Boxing Day.

But officers on routine patrol in other parts of the island will also be on alert for drinking and driving.

Mr Cardwell said earlier that drink-driving offences typically increased during the Christmas period.

He said that avoidance of the checkpoint parishes did not guarantee escaping a drink-driving charge as police in other parts of the island were on heightened alert for the offence.

Bermuda Police Service statistics revealed that there were 120 drink-driving arrests between January 1 and November 30 this year, five of them from failed tests at roadside breath-test checkpoints.

The number of arrests included 33 breath-test refusals at checkpoints and outside of them.

There were 184 drink-driving arrests over the same period the year before, 24 through failed checkpoint tests and 80 through refusals.

There were 222 arrests for the period in 2019 — 48 checkpoint tests failures and 71 refusals.

Mr Cardwell said that people arrested for drink-driving offences including refusals were unlikely to escape conviction in the courts.

He said: “You do not hear of people getting off and getting away from a conviction for impaired driving offences.

“These offences are tried almost every day in the courts. Either you have refused the test — there is no excuse — or you have taken the test and failed.

“The accuracy of the breathalysers has been challenged on a number of occasions but all of these challenges have failed.

“The standard penalty in the court is a $1,000 fine and 18 months disqualification.”

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Published December 24, 2021 at 7:56 am (Updated December 24, 2021 at 7:56 am)

Police say don’t drink and drive message could be getting through to road users

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