THE number of young West Midlands drivers getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol over the Christmas period was up this year, according to police figures.

West Midlands Police breath-tested 3,836 between December 1 and New Year’s Day - and statistics released today (Thursday) show 97 of the 793 drivers under 25 that were tested were over the legal alcohol limit, a percentage of 12.23 per cent.

In 2011 the percentage was 9.4 and in 2010 it was 9.7.

West Midlands Police Traffic Inspector Greg Jennings said: "Alcohol and young, inexperienced drivers is a dangerous combination and we will continue stressing the dangers of drink-driving to the under 25s.

“In addition, insurance premiums for younger drivers are already high but anyone with a drink drive conviction against their name could find themselves priced off the road."

Police say 338 drivers failed or refused to provide a specimen during the festive drink drive crackdown - mirroring results from 2011 and 2010 when 8.56 per cent and 8.58 per cent, respectively, failed breathalyser tests.

And more than one in every seven drivers (14.9 per cent) involved in a crash were found to have been drinking.