Leader: Time to put the brakes on drink-driving

IN RECENT years, the fashionable political philosophy has been "nudge" - small steps designed to encourage socially- responsible behaviour. But when it comes to the huge damage inflicted by drink-driving, something much more than "nudge" has been needed.

After more than 40 years of campaigning to curb drink-driving, horrendous incidents are still being reported. Yesterday police cited the case of a 17 year-old who was caught drink-driving on the very day he had passed his test. In another shocking case a driver was arrested twice on the same day for driving under the influence of drugs.

Tighter rules on drink-driving, combined with greater police surveillance and tougher fines and penalties, have helped to curb the incidence of drink-driving and to bring down the number of deaths and injuries caused by those who flout the law. But the troubling incidents in the summer months are a sharp reminder that this is a continuing problem by no means combined to the traditional festive periods of Christmas and New Year. In the past week alone across Scotland, 116 people have been reported for drink-driving and a further 16 were unfit through drugs. Hence the warning from the police yesterday that across Scotland motorists are failing to get the message about driving with drink or drugs in their system. Sensible motorists may find the regime of speed cameras and police monitoring an irritant. But it is still absolutely necessary to bear down on highly-irresponsible drink-drivers who put the lives of innocent parties at risk as well as their own.