18/12/2002

'No hiding place for drink drivers' say police

The police have reported a successful start to their annual Christmas anti-drink drive campaign with a total of 218 drink drivers detected in its first 18 days.

Although the figure is two down on the same period last year, PSNI head of operations, Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland, said that police are determined that there will be "no hiding place for those who drink and drive".

ACC McCausland said that the returns from officers across the Province reflected the robust approach being taken by police.

He said: “This year we have been trying to highlight the human cost of drink driving. One quarter of all deaths on Northern Ireland’s roads is down to drink and many hundreds are injured. Although, so far, the figure for drink detections is very slightly down on the same period last year, it is still disappointing that so many continue to ignore all the advice and warnings given and disregard the wishes of the vast majority of people.”

Police report that of the 215 detections made so far during the campaign, 81 drivers were over twice the limit and 13 were over three times the limit. One man, who was stopped by police at 8.41am, was almost five times the limit. The oldest driver detected was 66, the youngest 16 years of age.

Environment minister, Angela Smith, who helped to launch this year’s campaign just over two weeks ago, said: “I fully support tough enforcement in relation to drink driving. If someone consumes alcohol and then gets behind the wheel he or she should expect to get caught.

"Drink driving is not acceptable. It is irresponsible and demonstrates a blatant disregard for the wellbeing and safety of others. So often the end result is tragedy – individuals and families thrown into a spiral of endless grief and suffering – and for what – a good time? I appeal to drivers – never, ever drink and drive.”

ACC McCausland added: “The PSNI is committed to taking a robust approach to drink drivers. No matter how much police resources are stretched we are determined that one of our priorities will be to catch drink drivers and bring them before the courts where, inevitably, they will lose their licences.

“Let us try not to have any more empty spaces at the family table this Christmas. If you are going to a party or bar, arrange for one member of the group to stay sober or organise transport. Remember, the message is simple – never, ever drink and drive.”

(GMcG)

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