Drink driving rise '˜a disgrace' says top cop

The number of drink drivers caught by police over the festive season is up, despite the usual high profile police warnings.

Sunday, 8th January 2017, 1:54 pm
Updated Monday, 9th January 2017, 1:03 pm

The increase in the number of checks by police – up 15 per cent – could account for some of the 625 motorists found to breaking the law.

But Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins, slamming the result as “a disgrace” – says the increased police activity doesn’t account for the rise, which was still higher in percentage terms.

The number of drivers over the limit rose from 2.8 per cent of those tested to 3.3 per cent, while the number of those caught after drinking the night before was also slightly up – from 13 to 46.

Police Scotland’s four-week enforcement campaign saw an average of 610 drivers tested every day.

The police anti-drink driving campaign came at the same time as a Scottish Government awareness campaign to reinforce the message that “the best approach is none”.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: “It is hugely disappointing to see a rise in the number of drivers who have flouted the law and put their lives, and the lives of others, at risk over the festive period.

“Of course people should be enjoying time with their loved ones over Christmas and New Year but this isn’t an excuse to ignore the law and get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol.

“By drink driving, including the morning after, you are not only putting yourselves at risk, but also facing a minimum one year driving ban, a criminal record, points on your licence and a substantial fine.

“Please remember, the best approach is none.”

Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins said: “It is an absolute disgrace that so many people were prepared to risk their own lives, as well as the lives of innocent people, by recklessly taking to the roads while in a drunken state.

“We were massively active over the festive season and while the number of tests we carried out was greater than last year, proportionately the number of people caught, particularly those the following morning, was greater still.”

“Drivers need to take far greater personal responsibility, and also be aware that while this campaign is over, my officers still have a very sharp focus on detecting and arresting drunk drivers. I repeat the guidance given at the start of the campaign - don’t risk it, because - as these 625 people have found to their cost - we will detect and arrest you.”