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Hardcore still drink driving.

Byline: By Mark Cowan CRIME CORRESPONDENT

A HARDCORE of motorists continued to flout drink-drive laws at Christmas after a sharp rise in people testing positive, police warned today.

A total of 552 drivers were found over the limit in the West Midlands during the month-long festive crackdown - almost double the number pulled over the year before.

And one in five people tested following a serious road smash that resulted in injury were found over the limit.

Walsall and Sandwell were the worst areas, where 19 per cent of drivers tested proved positive, compared with 14 per cent in Birmingham and Dudley and just three per cent in Solihull.

Today police chiefs blasted: "The drink drive message does not appear to be getting through."

Chief Insp Steven Palmer, head of the force traffic department, said: "While more people were tested this year than last year and we targeted particular hotspots, over double the number of people tested positively."

More than 20,000 motorists were stopped during the campaign and 3,536 were breath tested, with 552 were found over the limit - 313 more than Christmas 2004 when 3,289 were tested in three weeks.

Two people were also dealt with for driving while under the influence of drugs.

There was also a sharp rise in the number of injury collisions this year, but police said bad weather could have been responsible.

Chief Insp Palmer warned anti-drive-drive operations would continue.

"Just because Christmas is over, it does not mean that drivers over the limit will not get caught. Drink driving does cost lives."
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jan 11, 2006
Words:261
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