Police drink-drive powers increased

Tayside Police has launched its annual drink drive campaign, armed with extended powers to seize vehicles.

The vehicle forfeiture initiative allows courts to seize vehicles from drivers who refuse to provide a sample for analysis, and first offenders who are three times the alcohol limit or more.

Vehicles were previously confiscated under the scheme if drink drivers had a previous conviction within five years for a drink or drug driving offence, or had a similar case pending.

The force said that this would amount to around 100 additional drivers potentially losing their vehicles over the last year.

Drivers are again warned of the potential consequences of losing their licence including loss of job and the impact on their families.

A spokesman said: “They may have been fortunate not to have been involved in a collision, injured someone as a result of their actions, or worse. But they will be fined and lose their licence.

“The repercussions do not stand comparison with the individual who drinks alcohol or take drugs and drives and is then involved in a collision, perhaps leaving innocent victims badly injured or dead. In such circumstances, many lives are changed forever.”

Chief Inspector Sandy Bowman, head of road policing, said the danger drink/drug driving poses to other road-users is “totally unacceptable” and “irresponsible”. He added that many suspected drink or drug drivers are reported by members of the public who were responsible for around a third of those caught during last year’s campaign.

He said: “The actions of people who are prepared to risk driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs demonstrate an utter disregard for the lives of other people and themselves.

“We welcome the extension of the vehicle forfeiture provisions and hope they serve as a further deterrent to the potential drink or drug driver.”

Drivers are also being warned that a cocktail of alcohol and drugs, whether illicit, prescription, or over-the-counter medicines, increase their chances of being involved in a collision with potentially devastating consequences.

Anyone attending a party or family gathering over Christmas and New Year is urged to ensure they do not over-indulge.

Chief Inspector Bowman continued: “If you are going out then leave the car at home and nominate a designated driver. Use public transport or take a taxi.

“There is every likelihood that you will be over the limit for a significant period of time after you stop drinking. As such you will be unfit to drive.

“Please be mindful of this and the dangers alcohol consumption present the morning after. You may not think you are over the limit in the morning, but you may very well be.”

As well as focusing on drink and drug driving, officers will also deal with other road safety issues. Speeding, mobile phone misuse and seat belt offences and being stopped for any other moving traffic offence such as faulty lights, will result in driver’s being required to provide a specimen of breath for a breath test.

Anyone wishing to report a drink or drug driver can contact Tayside Police on 0300 111 2222, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. In the event of an emergency ‘phone 999.