Police Scotland catch more drink drivers during festive blitz
A higher proportion of motorists were caught drink-driving over the festive period – with nearly one in ten between the old and new limits.
More than 600 drivers were found to be over the limit after Police Scotland increased the number of checks carried out by 15 per cent on last year.
The proportion of drivers stopped by police who were breaking the law rose from to 3.3 per cent from 2.8 per cent the previous year.
More than 9 per cent of those caught drink-driving tested between the old and new limits, up on 4 per cent the previous year.
The four-week enforcement campaign, which ran from December 2 to January 2, saw an average of 610 motorists stopped and tested every day.
Of the almost 19,000 drivers stopped during the 2016/17 festive period campaign, a total of 625 – or one in 30 – were over the limit, compared with one in 36 – during the same period in 2015/16.
Of the 625 detected, 46 were caught in the morning between 6am and 10am having been drinking the night before, up from 13 in 2015/16.
The drink-drive limit was reduced from 80mg to 50mg in every 100ml of blood in 2014, making Scotland’s laws the strictest in the UK.
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.”
He added: “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.”
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.”