Police plan spot checks to catch drink-drivers

The campaign was launched at Fettes. Picture: Esme Allen
The campaign was launched at Fettes. Picture: Esme Allen
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COPS have launched their Christmas drink-drive crackdown – with spot checks planned to catch offenders across the Lothians.

The clampdown has snared as many as 100 drivers in a campaign previously – but officers this year hope tempted party-goers will heed their warning and ditch the car if they are drinking.

New figures have shown that only one in four motorists knows that a drink-driving conviction results in a criminal record lasting at least 20 years.

Road safety has become a renewed priority in Edinburgh since the formation of Police Scotland in April, with the number of motoring offences recorded nearly doubling.

Police chiefs have pledged a tough approach on detecting those over the limit, and warned festive revellers not to risk it.

Superintendent Iain Murray, head of road policing at Police Scotland, hopes the threat of spot checks will deter any would be tipplers.

He said: “Every year we raise the issue of drink-driving and every year there are still people who break the law with no consideration for others.

“If you think you are OK as you’ve only had ‘one’ or a couple of small drinks, think again, it doesn’t matter whether you’re just over the limit or well over the limit – you’re a drunk driver.

“There really is no excuse.”

Last December, city drivers caught under the Christmas blitz included a motorist who allegedly rammed his car into the Western Bar strip club after being refused entry.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill welcomed the campaign, which will be replicated across Scotland.

He said: “Over 20,000 drivers are stopped by police in Scotland every month. Having even one alcoholic drink, then driving, makes you three times more likely to die in a car crash.

“Our message has always been clear – don’t ever drink and drive. You could face an automatic ban of 12 months, a fine of up to £5000, a lengthy criminal record, the possibility of a prison sentence, and an increased risk of losing your vehicle for good.”

New figures also revealed that approximately one in eight deaths on Scottish roads involve drivers over the limit.

Lord Advocate, the Right Honourable Frank Mulholland QC, said: “Even if you are just over the limit, in the eyes of the law you are still a drunk driver and a criminal – there is no grey area.”