Breath Tests and Breath Test Failures By Time




Reported breath tests and breath test failures of drivers and riders by day and time, Great Britain, 2013


Statistics have been released by the Department of Transport which relate to: (1) all types of motor vehicles in Great Britain involved in accidents; (2) numbers of drivers/riders required to take breath tests; and (3) number of failed test/refusals to provide a specimen.


Interestingly with these statistics, breakdowns are given regarding the days and the times when the three types of data indicated above were collected.


For example, from a total of 232,709 drivers/riders involved in traffic accidents, the highest figure (21,668) indicates that most accidents occurred at 5pm. Conversely, the lowest figure (1,143) indicates that the least accidents occurred at 4am.


However, it should be noted that although there is a peak in the figures at 5pm, numbers exceed 10,000 from 7am throughout the day, then fall steadily from 8pm onwards.


Although, according to the statistics, drivers and riders were more likely to be involved in a traffic accident on a Friday (39,392), there is not a lot of difference between the figures for the other week days – the range being just 2,508.


There is, however, a noticeable difference in the figures for Saturday (29,894) and Sunday (24,317), during which days less traffic accidents occurred.


Of those drivers and riders required to take a breath test (123,956 in total), most of these requests were made on a Friday (21,091) and most of these between the hours of 8am and 7pm, with the greatest number of requests at 4pm (1,958) and 5pm (1,967).


The least number of requests for breath samples were made on a Sunday (13,514) and, on that day, between 4am and 6am (all figures less than 200).


Of all the drivers and riders who failed a breath test, or refused to provide a specimen of breath (3,727 in total), most of these failures/refusals took place on Saturday and Sunday (881 and 890 respectively), and on both these days there are clusters of higher figures between the hours of midnight and 3am.


The lower figures for failures/refusals were on Wednesdays (290), and particularly between the hours of 4am and 12noon.


Although it may be tempting to draw ‘common sense’ conclusions from these statistics, it should be noted that other factors should be taken into consideration when interpreting such data. For instance, in some cases people are charged with failure to provide a specimen of breath for analysis when, in fact, they have a medical condition (such as asthma) which means that they tried their best but could not comply with the police officer’s request. Or, as we at Forrest Williams have seen happen, a person can be charged with this offence when they were so anxious that they were unable to give the two evidential breath samples required by law.  


If you are being charged with a drink driving offence, call our expert team now on 01623 600645.





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