Drunk drivers caught behind the wheel and found to be three times the legal limit this Christmas face the prospect of having their vehicles confiscate
Rogue motorists who refuse a breath test after they have been pulled over will also be hammered by the tough new rules announced by the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland.
As well as having their ‘wheels’ sent to the crusher drivers, including first offenders who produce a reading of 105 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath or higher, will be given an automatic 12 month ban and risk a fine of up to £5000 and six months in jail.
The festive drink and drug driving campaign launched by ACPOS is being backed by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill and the Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland QC.
Chief Constable Justine Curran warned: “This year’s campaign marks another extension to the vehicle forfeiture scheme. If we discover an offender is three times the legal limit or more we will ask the court to consider seizing the vehicle. This means that on conviction it will be sold or destroyed. The value of the car may be of little consequence, but the loss to the driver in terms of them going about their daily business will be extremely high.
“Last year 7563 people in Scotland were caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, an average of 20 every day. It is staggering so many are willing to risk their lives and the lives of others. These people are not hardened criminals, but by deciding to drink and drive are also deciding to accept the consequences of a criminal record and a substantial fine.”
Mr MacAskill said: “It’s sad we are still having to address the drink driving issue over 40 years after the law was introduced and I welcome this tougher initiative as another lever to remove drink and drug drivers from our roads.”
The Lord Advocate added: “Since its introduction in 2009 the forfeiture initiative has already been extended to include drug drivers and will now include first time high readers and those who refuse to provide a breath test. In addition to the loss of licence, risk of imprisonment and criminal record, the added deterrent of forfeiture will hopefully further discourage those intending to drink and drive.”
An ACPOS spokesman said: “Some drivers claim to be surprised they are over the limit after having just two drinks. Those who drink more than that fully intending to drive later know they are going to be a ‘high reader’ if they are caught but stupidly still decide to take the chance.”
The public is urged to report any driver they suspect has had too much to drink by contacting Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.