29/11/2001

Police take a tough line on drink driving over Christmas

The police will be taking a tough line on drink driving over Christmas and the New Year according to the head of road policing in Northern Ireland.

“Bump - And You’re Breathalysed” is the stark warning from the Police Service of Northern Ireland to mark the launch of this year’s Christmas anti-drink driving campaign.

Superintendent Ian Hamill, Head of Road Policing Development Branch, said: “If police are called to, or come to any collision, no matter how slight, then all drivers involved will be breath-tested.”

Environment Minister, Mr Sam Foster, has welcomed the robust approach to breath testing. Speaking at the launch of the campaign in Belfast on Thursday November 29, he said: “Drink driving is such a serious issue that no effort should be spared in removing it from our roads. I wholeheartedly welcome this tough approach by the police. And it is tough. Drivers involved in a collision, even if not responsible for causing that collision, will be breathalysed.”

Last year, drink drivers killed 43 people on Northern Ireland’s roads. Mr Foster said: “It is therefore hard to believe that anyone would even consider getting behind the wheel after having consumed alcohol.”

Mr Foster emphasised that drinking and driving was a lethal cocktail. Even one drink impaired driving ability and at the legal limit divers were six times more likely to have a collision.

Superintendent Hamill added: “During last year’s campaign, police detected 326 drink drivers. While that was a drop of 87 on the same period the previous year, clearly there are still too many people who think they can drink and drive. Police are determined to tackle the problem robustly. No matter what other pressures are placed on our resources, catching drink drivers and bringing them before the courts remains a priority. We are committed to educating the motoring public and we are committed to enforcing the drink driving laws rigorously.” (AMcE)

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