Festive police campaign draws to a successful close

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IN THE fourth and final enforcement period of this year’s national Festive Drink/Drug Driving Campaign, 15 drivers were arrested for drink driving offences in Tayside between Monday, December 24 and Thursday, January 3.

Three women and 12 men, aged between 20 and 67 years old were detected committing these offences. Six of whom were traced as a direct result of contact being made with police by concerned members of our communities, whose safety was placed at risk by these drivers irresponsible actions. Out of the 15 offenders, six drivers had been involved in road traffic collisions - fortunately no-one was seriously injured.

In Angus, a 20-year-old man driving a forklift under the influence of alcohol was traced by officers on the B9128 Forfar to Quilko Road at about 3.30 a.m. on Hogmanay. He subsequently provided a reading of 74 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath - more than twice the legal limit, and had taken the fork lift from his employer’s yard without permission, claiming that he could not get a taxi home. He appeared from custody at Forfar Sheriff Court and was fined £350 and was disqualified for 15 months.

In addition to offences concerning drink and drug driving, Tayside Police have continued to focus on other offences related to road safety during the campaign. In the last 10-day period, 43 drivers and five passengers were reported for seat belt offences, eight drivers were reported for mobile phone offences and 179 drivers were detected speeding, with 113 drivers doing so in a built up area and 66 on the open road.

During the four weeks of this year’s campaign, there were a total of 40 drink/drug drivers detected, consisting of 37 drink and three drug related offences. Overall this is a slight reduction when compared with last year’s figure of 43 similar offences.

Concerned members of the public alerted police to 17 drivers who were found committing drink or drug driving offences and 10 drivers were found to be over the legal alcohol limit as a result of having been involved in a road traffic collision. The remaining offenders were detected when stopped by the police on routine patrol, for a variety of reasons such as their manner of driving or minor vehicle defects.

In addition to the foregoing drink/drug drive offences, a significant number of drivers and in some instances their passengers, failed to comply with legislation intended to enhance their safety whilst using their vehicles on the roads. This included, exceeding posted speed limits either in built up areas or out on the open roads, failing to wear seat belts or driving whilst using a mobile phone. Many will be receiving fines and in some instances have endorsements imposed on their driving licences over the next few weeks. Although in the majority of these cases injuries were not sustained, this could have been very different and these offences could have been avoided altogether by drivers taking heed of road safety messages.

The campaign resulted in over 500 drivers being detected speeding by Tayside Police officers, with an excess of 900 drivers being detected by the Tayside Safety Camera Partnership. In total, 176 people were detected not wearing a seat belt and 120 drivers were using a mobile phone whilst driving. Under road traffic legislation, 36 vehicles were seized where they were found to have been driven without insurance or a driving licence.

Chief Inspector Sandy Bowman, head of road policing, said: “Once again, I cannot thank the responsible members of our communities within Tayside for their excellent support of our efforts during this campaign.

“Throughout this period, their contribution has resulted in a large number of detections for drink or drug driving and I thank them for their assistance in making the roads of Tayside safer.

“We also received a number of calls about drivers whose manner of driving had caused some concerns. Whilst some of these may not have been actually over the limit, I trust that the experience of being stopped by the police and given appropriate advice serves as a salutary lesson to them in respect of their approach to their own and others safety on the roads.

“The message that we continually promote is consistent. If you need to drive a vehicle, do not take drink or drugs. Don’t Risk It!

“If any member of the public wishes to report a drink/drug driver then please call Tayside Police on 0300 111 2222, or the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. In an emergency, call 999.”