WITH the four-week festive road safety campaign underway, Tayside Police plan to make full use of the Vehicle Forfeiture Initiative.
This allows the courts to order the seizure and forfeiture of a drink driver’s vehicle when they have had a previous conviction within the last five years for a drink or drug driving related offence, or have a pending case of a similar nature.
These provisions have been further extended and will now include first time drink drive offenders who are three times the drink/drive limit or more, as well as those who refuse to provide a sample for analysis.
Previous statistics for Tayside show that this would amount to approximately an additional 100 drivers over the last year potentially losing their vehicles as a result of their irresponsible actions.
Such measures undoubtedly have significant personal and financial implications on any inconsiderate driver who is tempted to take the risk and drive when they have been drinking, or abusing drugs.
These offenders will be kept in custody to appear at court on the first lawful day after their arrest. This might well include the extended weekend and festive holiday period.
Chief Inspector Sandy Bowman, Head of Road Policing in Tayside, said: “It is totally unacceptable that law-abiding road users are exposed to potential danger by a minority of irresponsible individuals.
“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.
“Tayside Police is pleased to make them aware that we continue to receive a significant volume of calls from the public to report suspected drink or drug drivers.
“It is clear that the vast majority of people find the thoughtless and reckless behaviour of drink and drug drivers abhorrent and inexcusable
“During last years festive campaign approximately a third of the drivers detected for drink or drug driving were as a result of calls from members of the public.
“I thank them for their support and ask them to continue providing the same level of support in assisting us rid the roads of drink and drug drivers.”
A combination of alcohol and drugs, whether illicit, prescription, or over the counter medicines, undoubtedly impairs a person’s reactions and consequently increase their chances of being involved in a collision. With any collision is the potential for devastating consequences.
With the festive party season now upon us and friends and families gathering for social functions and parties, drivers must take responsibility and ensure they do not over-indulge.
Many get-togethers will happen in the home, where the measures of alcohol are generally bigger than those served in licensed premises.
Drivers should bear this in mind, or better still abstain completely, particularly if they intend to drive the same day and even if they plan to get behind the wheel the next morning - Don’t risk it!”
Chief Inspector Bowman said: “The message is very simple and clear. Do not drink or take drugs and drive. If you are going out then leave the car at home 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. At the very least you might feel under the weather and fatigued, which has a significant impact on your driving and ability to react.
“Everyone reacts in a different way when they have consumed alcohol and there a number of factors that influence the time it takes for your body to disperse it.
“If in doubt, don’t risk it.”
While the main focus of the campaign is drink/drug driving, officers will continue to enforce other traffic offences which impact on road safety. Speeding, mobile phone misuse and seat belt offences, are known to contribute to the risk of collision, with death or serious injury a very real possibility.
Any member of the public who wishes to report a drink or drug driver is urged to contact Tayside Police on 0300 111 2222, or the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.