Rise in number of drink drivers caught over Christmas in Latvia

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The annual crackdown on driving home for Christmas with excessive alcohol in the bloodstream has so far resulted in 93 drink-drivers being caught behind the wheel,  according to Normunds Krapsis, chief of the traffic department of the Latvian State Police.

Speaking on LTV's Morning Panorama news show, Krapsis said the figure was higher than last year's, though the calendar meant there was an extra day in the holiday period.

The legal limit for drivers is 0.05% alcohol in the blood (0.5 promilles) or 0.02% (0.2 promilles) for drivers in their first two years after gaining a driving license.

But of the drinkers caught over the holiday, half had a blood alcohol concentration level of more than 1.5 promilles (or permilles). 

"That is seriously under the influence," explained the police officer.

Last year during the Christmas holiday period 56 drunk drivers were apprehended, and 86 during the same period in 2016.

Hopes that road traffic accident figures would be minimal were also dashed  Thursday morning when a young man was reported to have been killed in a crash near Madona.

Overall, this year will end with a negative note as far as highway patrolmen are concerned, Krapsis said, hoping that next year the statistics will be better, which will allow us to move towards the goal of halving the number of road fatalities by 2020. 

He also issued a warning to those tempted to drink and drive that the enhanced regime of roadside checks will continue into the new year.


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