Drink driving drop welcomed by police

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LOCAL police chiefs have welcomed the results of the latest festive crackdown on drink and drug driving, although Inspector Colin Shillito of Lothian and Borders Road Policing Department said he was still shocked anyone at all would put their own and others lives at risk given the treacherous road conditions of recent weeks.

During the course of the annual police campaign over the festive period police apprehended a total of six drivers who were later charged with driving under the influence

This is three down on last year’s figures and reflects the force-wide picture. Last year a total of 76 drivers were detected for drink or drug driving in the Lothian and Borders region but this dropped to 53 for 2010/11 and Inspector Shillito was pleased to report that no-one in the Borders was caught behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs.

Two of the local offenders were detected in the Berwickshire and East Lothian area. As we reported previously a 31-year-old woman from Coldingham came to the attention of police on Christmas Day after having a collision on a quad bike.

She was found to be over the limit and a report of the incident has since been forwarded to the Procurator Fiscal.

A day earlier on Christmas Eve a 42-year-old man was caught driving erratically in the Dunbar area and was charged with being twice the legal limit. He had four children in his car with him at the time.

Inspector Shillito said that a greater police presence on the roads over the party season and the public’s willingness to inform them of any suspected drink drivers had proved effetive.

However, as the two local offenders proved, he said there were people still willing to take a chance.

He commented: “Throughout the campaign there were more intensified static road checks which definitely made a difference and the public also played their part.

“If someone contacts the police about a suspected incident of drink driving, the message can be quickly circulated to officers on patrol in that area giving them more chance of tracing the driver involved.

“The latest figures suggest that people are heeding our warnings but there still seems to be that core of drivers who are willing to break the law.

“The total numbers of drivers caught throughout the Force area dipped from 76 to 53 but that is still 53 too many.

“Driving on the region’s roads over the past month has been bad enough with all your faculties so for people do it while over the limit is staggering. Not only did they endanger their own lives they put others at risk. Thankfully there weren’t any serious collisions or injuries as a result of the local offences.

“The Coldingham incident was more of a silly episode but unfortunately for the lady involved, who was just having a shot on her son’s Christmas present, it still fell within the drink driving criteria.

“I want to remind the public that while the festive crackdown is our most high profile drink driving initiative, our campaign against it spans all 365 days of the year.

“We need to keep the fact that it is socially unacceptable and the forefront of people’s minds.”

In total, over the four week period a total of 426 offenders were caught driving whilst over the legal alcohol limit throughout Scotland, compared to last year’s campaign which saw 460 drink drivers caught nationwide.