‘Alarming’ number of high reading drink-drive cases
DRINK-drive cases are reaching unprecedented levels, and the number of high readings is ‘quite alarming’, Judge Graeme McKerrell said when sentencing two men.
So far this year there have been at least 18 cases of drink-drive, drunk-in-charge or failing to provide a sample to reach the Magistrate’s Court.
Seven of the defendants were sent to prison, while the rest faced community service orders, fines and bans.
Road Policing Inspector Tom Marshall said that drink-driving was unacceptable in society and the police were receiving a lot of tip-offs about drivers potentially over the limit.
‘Drink-driving is unacceptable 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,’ said Inspector Marshall.
‘These are also the hours police officers work – there isn’t a single moment when we aren’t prepared to deal with them.
‘We have never deviated from the message that the safe limit is zero, that you should get a taxi, catch the bus, designate a driver or walk.
‘Yet there is an element in society which thinks the polar opposite to that simple, easy-to-remember advice.
‘They are now reaping what they sowed.’
He said that the courts were rightly handing out severe penalties. ‘The stigma of being a drink-driver is stronger than ever and the number of calls we receive about potential drink-drivers is high,’ he said.
‘When we ended the Christmas anti-drink drive campaign, we said that didn’t herald the start of an amnesty until the summer campaign – and we meant it.
‘We will maintain a proactive stance toward dealing with those are intent on committing this highly dangerous, totally unacceptable activity.
‘And one day, we will carry out our threat to seize and crush the car of a drink-driver, film it and place the footage online.’
Drug & Alcohol Strategy Coordinator Andrea Nightingale said around 90 drivers were convicted of drink-driving each year.
‘That is just not acceptable in such a small island where the impact of a driver under the influence of alcohol can have a massive effect on the community,’ she said.
‘We have targeted the summer and Christmas periods with more people being sociable during the summer months enjoying the warm weather, barbecues etc and, of course, the festivities around Christmas but we are seeing that the shoulder months are equally concerning.’
Last year, 23 of the defendants convicted were aged between 21 and 29 years – more than any other age category.
The majority of offenders are being caught between the hours of 4pm and 4am.
‘I cannot reiterate how devastating the consequences can be – causing an accident, hurting yourself, your passengers or other road users,’ Ms Nightingale said.