Take care on the roads this summer

Police Scotland Tayside Division is appealing to all road users – pedestrians, drivers and passengers – not to be complacent about their own safety and that of others around them.

The request comes at the onset of the national summer road safety campaign and following a number of serious road traffic incidents on the region’s roads network in recent days.

While all of them have their own particular circumstances, they are a reminder of the need to be vigilant on the roads due to the dangers that can arise, whatever the time of year.

As part of its commitment to make the country’s roads safer, Police Scotland launched the Summer Drink/Drug Driving Campaign on June 1 with the aim of focusing on drink and drug driving to reduce collisions. The initiative also aims to tackle other traffic-related offences.

Traditionally, winter months and Christmas in particular were the focus for drink driving campaigns and considerable attention is still directed at those times of year.

But there is also a definite need to challenge behaviour on our roads during the longer and hopefully sunnier days, as social activities and numerous events.

Chief Inspector Grant Edward, Head of Roads Policing in Tayside Division said: “There is a real concern that when the weather is fine, as it is now, complacency can set in and people don’t take their safety on the roads network as seriously as they do at other times.

“Perhaps wintry or inclement weather focuses the mind in a way that warm sunny weather does not. But even if weather conditions are fine, drivers and pedestrians must take the utmost care.

“A good spell of weather will bring people outdoors in large numbers, with impromptu barbecues, parties and gatherings, as well as the many organised events and afternoons spent in the local beer garden. All offer the opportunity to relax and socialise – very often with alcohol being available.

“If you are drinking – do not drive. If you are driving - stick to the soft drinks and if you get caught up in the festivities, leave the car where it is and make alternative arrangements to get home. One foolish decision can lead to very serious consequences and a lifetime of regret.

“Consistently over the years, the Tayside public has been excellent at reporting drink drivers to the police. Drink drivers will be caught and will face the full force of law.”

Drivers should be aware that during summer months – and at weekends in particular – people will be consuming alcohol during the day and very likely over longer periods than they would at other times of the year. This will affect people’s awareness and inhibitions.

People should never drink to the stage that they are not able to look after themselves. Nor should any pedestrian should be in such a state that they are no longer alert to what is going on around them. Mindful of the risks, we also appeal to drivers to take nothing for granted and be vigilant to all pedestrians and the potential for their behaviour to be unpredictable.

Inspector Edward continued: “In addition to drink driving, drug driving cannot and will not be tolerated. No one can be in any doubt whatsoever that illegal substances affect a person’s ability to drive safely and react correctly to what is going on around them.

“Similar to a drink driver, a person behind the wheel of a car who has taken drugs, or event drink and drugs, is a lethal weapon and a danger to themselves and everyone around them – Don’t Risk It.”

People should also consider the affect of prescription medication (whether taken alone or additionally with alcohol) on their ability to drive. Some drugs can impair a person’s ability to drive and the advice of a doctor or chemist should be sought before driving if there is any doubt.

Spells of warm, sunny weather also mean dry roads and clear conditions. This should not serve as a green light to accelerate beyond the permitted speed limits in or out of town. Where drivers are caught breaking the law, police officers will be educating drivers through enforcement to help to ensure the safety of everyone on the roads.

Any member of the public who wishes to report a drink or drug driver, or report a driver for their behaviour or a specific incident is urged to contact Police Scotland on 101 or speak to any officer.

In an emergency call 999.

Alternatively, information can be passed via the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.