Proportion of drivers over drink-drug legal limit in festive crackdown increases

9 January 2018, 17:13 | Updated: 9 January 2018, 17:14


Police officers have said they are "disappointed" after the proportion of drivers found to be over the legal limit increased during a four-week drink/drug enforcement campaign.

Figures from Police Scotland show an average of 471 drivers were breathalysed every day during the 2017/18 festive crackdown.

Of the 15,771 drivers stopped, 567 (1 in 28) were detected for drink/drug driving, compared with 625 (1 in 30) during the same period in 2016/17.

The number of drivers who tested between the old and new limits dropped from 57 (9%) last year to 18 (3%) this year.

Out of the the 567 detected, 39 (7%) were caught the morning after, which fell from 46 (7%) in 2016/17.

In the Highlands and Islands, a woman driver was stopped on three separate occasions over an eight-day period.

She was allegedly over the limit on each occasion and was given an interim disqualification pending a court appearance.

In the same area an HGV driver was found to be three times over the limit while a taxi driver, carrying passengers, was said to be two-and-a-half times over after being stopped in Paisley, Renfrewshire, where he was seen jumping a red light.

Chief Superintendent Stewart Carle, head of road policing, said: "It is disappointing that the proportion of drivers detected has increased.

"Notably, there were fewer drivers caught driving while still intoxicated 'the morning after' but there remains a hard core of drivers who continue to risk their lives and the lives of others by drink/drug driving.

"Very few of those caught were found to be between the new alcohol limit of 22mg per 100ml of breath and the old limit 35mg per 100 ml of breath.

"In fact, many of those caught were found to be significantly over the previous drink-drive breath limit, some following road traffic collisions in which people were injured."

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: "It is disappointing that a persistent minority of drivers are continuing to ignore the law and put their lives and those of others at risk, by driving while under the influence of alcohol.

"Those who have failed drink-drive tests will face a minimum 12-month driving ban, a criminal record for a lengthy period and a substantial fine.

"The campaign reinforces that drink-driving is unacceptable and although this particular campaign focused on the festive period, it's an important message to remember all year round."