THE RISE IN the number of people caught behind the wheel having drunk over the legal limit has prompted criticism form a regional MSP and road safety campaigner.
David Stewart MSP said that the one in every 30 drivers stopped by police and found to be over the legal limit was bad enough, but the fact that there was a rise of 13 who had failed the test the morning after a drinking session should be a warning to all motorists, all the year round.
Calling the figures released this week by Police Scotland as “unacceptable”, Mr Stewart said that it was the drivers themselves who continued to take unacceptable risks who were the real problem for all road users.
Mr Stewart said: “This year 625 were caught by the Police compared to 459 last year. Frankly this is just unacceptable and whilst the Police are more proactive than ever, some drivers have no moral responsibility.
“They do not seem to care, fail to heed all the warnings and they make our roads far more dangerous for others.
“We all need to do whatever we can to improve driver responsibility and education and we should all be encouraged to report to the Police suspected drink drivers.”
The plea has been echoed by police with local area commander for road policing in the north east, Inspector Louise Blakelock, saying: “It is extremely disappointing that despite the many warnings that have been given so many people have been found to be over the limit while driving.
“It is clear that there are still a minority of motorists who will not only put their own life at risk but that of other road users.
“It is a proven fact that any alcohol in your system can drastically impair your ability to drive. That so many drivers are still continuing to ignore this is a matter of huge concern. Our message is clear there is no safe limit for drinking and driving. If you are getting behind the wheel of a car do not drink or take drugs.
“Unfortunately these figures show that drink driving is still prevalent on our roads and we see it across all communities.”
Insp Blakelock added that both high visibility and unmarked patrols will continue in the region but added: “We also ask that if you have concerns regarding someone behind the wheel you get in touch.
“On a positive note we are regularly receiving calls from concerned members of the public and urge that this continues. If you are concerned about someone behind the wheel of a vehicle for whatever reason that you contact police as soon as is it is safe to do so.”