‘Devastating’ consequences of drink-driving highlighted in festive campaign

Motorists are being warned not to risk drink-driving as authorities launch a festive crackdown on the crime.

Police warned the consequences of drink-driving can be “devastating” and said the chances of being caught are higher than ever.

New research that people in Scotland believe the top consequences of a drink-drive conviction are losing their licence (81%), getting a criminal record (80%), or being handed points on their licence (80%).

The likes of a prison sentence (64%) or having their car confiscated (47%) are not as widely considered.

Outcomes such as losing their job (50%) or other personal problems are also less regarded.

Community Safety Minister Ash Denham, Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC and Assistant Chief Constable Mark Williams launched the festive drink-drive awareness and enforcement campaign in Edinburgh on Tuesday.

During the 2017-18 campaign, 567 drivers failed a breath test.

The Lord Advocate said: “This campaign reinforces the fact that driving whilst under the influence of drink is unacceptable and brings misery and devastation to families and loved ones across our communities.

“My message is very clear – you can expect to be caught and when you are, you will face the full force of the law.

“Motorists in Scotland should also be aware of the tough legal and personal consequences of drink-driving, not only could you lose your vehicle but you will receive an automatic ban of at least 12 months, a criminal record and a potentially unlimited fine. It is absolutely not worth taking the risk.”

The campaign runs from December 1 into early January.

Ms Denham said: “The consequences of drink-driving can be life changing and unfortunately there is a persistent minority of drivers who continue to ignore the law.

“A drink-driving conviction can be devastating, with significant criminal, personal, social and employment consequences.

“I was disappointed to see that during last year’s festive campaign 567 drivers failed a breath test.

“To all those who persist in breaking the law, remember: The best approach is none.”

The research this month, which questioned 1,001 people in Scotland aged 21-40, also revealed people’s attitudes towards those with a drink-drive conviction change.

Many respondents said they would feel less likely to trust someone with a drink-driving conviction as they see them as unreliable and view them as a criminal.

Police urged people to think ahead and plan how to get home when going out over the festive season.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Williams said: “As we move into the full swing of the festive party season, our campaign reinforces the message that ‘the best approach is none’, reminding motorists that even if you’re slightly over the limit, in the eyes of the law you are a drunk-driver and a criminal.

“I am urging people to plan ahead during the party season. Think about how you’re going to get home and don’t forget about the impact alcohol can still have the morning after.

“The consequences of drink-driving can be devastating and we’ll have dedicated resources on patrol during the festive period to discourage anyone thinking about it. The best advice is don’t risk it, don’t drink and drive.”