Call for introduction of mandatory rehabilitation for drink drivers

MOTORISTS WHO DRINK and drive should face mandatory attendance and a Drink and Drug Driving Rehabilitation Scheme (DDRS).

That is the view of award-winning road safety campaigner David Stewart MSP, who is calling on the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Michael Mathieson, to consider making the change.

Mr Stewart, who is a Labour regional MSP whose constituency includes Moray, explained that the DDRS is an informal educational training workshop that provides participants – providing them with knowledge to reduce the likelihood they will be re-convicted of drink/drug driving again.

The incentive for the drink/drug driver is that if they complete the course they can get up to 25% off their driving ban, but become more responsible and safer drivers in the process. The positive effect for the general public is that drink/drug drivers are getting further educated and our roads should become safer.

The DDRS has an agreed syllabus and service providers must facilitate the course as agreed at the time of approval. Those attending will be expected to participate in discussions, small group work and written exercises.

The facilitator’s role is to ensure you have support to complete the course. It is not a pass or fail course and entails 16 hours of education. Participants can only be referred by a Sheriff at the time of sentencing.

David Stewart MSP

Mr Stewart said: “Of course drink driving is still an issue that we need to address. Here in Scotland I was one of the many MSPs who pushed for and the Government enacted the reduced drink drive limit for alcohol from 80mg to 50mg in every 100ml of blood.

“The Governments Road Safety Strategy for 2020 has set a target of 40 % reduction in the number of fatalities and a 55 % reduction in the numbers of people seriously injured on the nation’s roads.

“During a week-long Police Scotland campaign in May 2017, a total of 121 drivers were detected for drink driving offences following 3619 breath tests carried out, which equates to one in 30 of every test carried out, which is one in 30 too many.

“Clearly there is a need for education with regards drink and drug driving. This is where the DDRS comes in to enhance all that is currently being done.

“As highlighted the course combines presentations, group exercises, group discussions and videos used in conjunction with a course workbook with various exercises to complete and is all geared to educate the convicted driver as to the error of their ways.

“Let’s face it, if the convicted driver is not referred to such a scheme, where are they to be educated as to the danger they pose to other road users and what is to stop them continuing to drink/drug drive once their ban has been completed.

“To complete the course the convicted driver would have to pay a course fee of up to £150. All that we could be doing to address this issue we should be doing and I think this scheme is structured to address some gaps in education.”