Drink driving crackdown now begins to pay off

A CAMPAIGN against drink driving which has seen Lothian and Borders Police get tougher than ever before, has had the desired effect as during the first two weeks of the force’s annual crackdown no drivers were detected driving whilst under the influence in the Borders.

As well as facing hefty financial penalties and a lengthy driving ban, any motorist found to be repeatedly running the risk of driving whilst impaired through alcohol or drugs and drivers who fail to provide a sample or whose sample produces a reading well over the legal limit can now expect to have their vehicle seized as part of a tougher stance on offenders from Lothian and Borders Police and the Association of Chief Police Officers Scotland (ACPOS).

And the results so far tend to suggest that drivers in the region are all too aware of the consequences and are heeding the warnings made by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill at the campaign launch earlier this month as the number of drivers caught drink or drug driving is down on the figure from the same period last year with none at all caught thus far in the Borders.

The force wide results for the first week of Lothian and Borders festive clampdown on people driving under the influence saw 17 motorists reported for a drink driving offence. In addition there were two males and one female in the 26-55 age group who refused to provide a sample.

Of those detected there were eight applications for forfeiture of the vehicles concerned, three for refusing to provide a sample and five for providing a sample of three times or over the prescribed limit, the limit being 35mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath.

None of those caught in the first week were from the Borders (G Division) as was the case in week two as well. A total of 20 offenders were detected during the second week of the campaign - 19 for drink drive related offences and one who refused to engage in the station procedures for a drug drive offence.

Of the 20 offenders, seven were found to have more than 105 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath.

There were no repeat offenders detected but a total of nine requests for vehicle forfeiture were made in reports to the Procurator Fiscal.

The Division which has so far produced the highest number of offenders is West Lothian (Division A). As of last week there had been 14 drivers charged with drink driving, leading to nine vehicles being seized in the region.

Warning drivers in his patch and the whole of the force area, Inspector Simon Bradshaw, Livingston Road Policing Branch said: “It is disappointing that a small minority of drivers still choose to put their own and others lives at risk. We will continue to do our utmost to detect and arrest drink drivers and bring them before the court.

“As we have already seen during this campaign, where appropriate, drink drivers’ vehicles will be forfeited by the court, thereby removing them from the road. I would urge all drivers to think of the potential consequences and not to get behind the wheel whilst under influence of alcohol or drugs.

“Anyone suspecting a person may be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can contact the police on 0131 3113131 or by calling 999 in urgent cases. Alternatively they can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 where the information will be treated in confidence of anonymity.”