ALMOST every driver breathalysed over the festive period in Merseyside was driving "responsibly," according to police.

Merseyside Police figures have shown that 97% of motorists passed breath tests during the annual clampdown, while 175 arrests out of 7,832 tests were made across the area for drink driving related offences.

Last year's figures saw 7,882 drivers being tested during the campaign with 176 being arrested for positive, refused or failed breath tests. 

The results, which were released today, mean that the number of Merseyside drivers getting behind the wheel after a drink was lower than the national average of 4%.

Chief Inspector John Hogan, of Merseyside Police's roads policing department, said: "The results of this year’s campaign show that the majority of motorists are driving responsibly and not taking the risk of driving while under the influence of drink or drugs.

"Of the 7,000 drivers stopped, just 2% of drivers went on to fail the test and were arrested, a figure that is below the national average.

"It is still disappointing that a minority of drivers continue to put themselves and others at risk by drinking or taking drugs before driving.

"Our message is clear, it is totally unacceptable to jeopardise your life and the lives of others by drink or drug driving and my officers will continue to target irresponsible drivers and ensure that they feel the full force of the law."

Figures also show that during the Christmas period, there was a fall in road traffic collisions with 414 incidents compared to 554 in 2011.

Following collisions, of the 799 drivers breathalysed, 44 were refused, positive or failed.

Of the 33 drug impairment tests conducted by officers during the campaign, five arrests were made.

Chf Insp Hogan added: "Drinking even a small amount of alcohol will impair your judgement and general ability to drive safely, and it is really not worth the risk.

"Throughout 2013 we will continue using an intelligence-led approach to stop drink drivers by using information provided by the public and targeting key locations and key times of the day and night.

"We are determined to do all we can to make our roads safer and I urge drivers to continue to play their part by not drink driving."

Drivers who were arrested and charged with drink driving offences over the Christmas and New Year period will be named on Merseyside Police's website from January 21.

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