Drink driving may now be more common in the summer than at Christmas, say senior police officers.
A recent blitz revealed almost double the proportion of UK drivers stopped were over the limit than during a similar operation over the festive period.
Almost 8 per cent of motorists stopped were found to be over the limit in a six-day operation last month, compared to 4 per cent of those stopped during Christmas last year.
Most police forces traditionally hold high-profile drink-driving campaigns at Christmas because this is thought to be when people are tempted to offend.
The figures were collected as part of a Europe-wide operation co-ordinated by TISPOL, the European Traffic Police Network.
UK came third
They revealed that the UK had the third highest level of drink driving, behind Slovenia (10 per cent) and Germany (16 per cent).
Scandinavia recorded low levels of drink driving with Norway recording the lowest proportion.
Around one in every five hundred motorists (0.2 per cent) in Norway tested positive when stopped by police. Other countries with low levels of drink driving were Finland (0.3 per cent) and Sweden (0.5 per cent).
Deputy Chief Constable Adam Briggs of North Yorkshire Police, who is the UK’s TISPOL representative, said he was concerned by the results.
He said: ‘We are determined to get the message home that drink driving is unacceptable at any time of the year.
‘These results illustrate why we must be vigilant. We will carry out checks day and night throughout the year backed up by intensive week-long campaigns like this one.’
The TISPOL campaign found that of 11,405 drivers stopped in the UK, 906 (8 per cent) were found to be over the alcohol limit.
A similar week-long campaign held in the run up to Christmas checked 31,451 drivers with 4 per cent proving positive.
TISPOL President Eddy Greif said: ‘The rise in the number being caught could be down to police being better able to spot drink drivers, but it could also suggest that drink driving is on the increase.
‘Whichever it is, the fact that so many drink drivers were caught in a single week is a matter for great concern.
‘Thousands of people die on the roads each year as a result of drink driving and hundreds of thousands are injured. Then there is the traumatic affect it has on friends and relatives.
‘This is needless suffering and we are determined to get the message across that drink driving is unacceptable.’
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