Hundreds of drink-drivers caught during Christmas
One in 30 drivers stopped by police during the drink-drive campaign over the festive season in Scotland were over the legal limit, it has emerged.
The figure was a higher proportion than the previous festive enforcement period in 2015 when one in 36 drivers were over the limit.
Police Scotland tested nearly 19,000 drivers between December 2 and January 2, which saw 625 people found to be over the limit, while 16,255 people were tested during the 2015 campaign, with 459 caught out.
Of the 625 detected, 46 were caught in the morning having been drinking the night before, up from 13 in 2015/16.
The Police Scotland period of enforcement coincided with a Scottish Government awareness campaign to reinforce the message that “the best approach is none”.
Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: “It is hugely disappointing to see a rise in the number of drivers who have flouted the law and put their lives, and the lives of others, at risk over the festive period.
“Of course p eople should be enjoying time with their loved ones over Christmas and New Year but this isn’t an excuse to ignore the law and get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol.
“By drink-driving, including the morning after, you are not only putting yourselves at risk, but also facing a minimum one year driving ban, a criminal record, points on your licence and a substantial fine.”
Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins said: “It is an absolute disgrace that so many people were prepared to risk their own lives, as well as the lives of innocent people, by recklessly taking to the roads while in a drunken state.
“We were massively active over the festive season and while the number of tests we carried out was greater than last year, proportionately the number of people caught, particularly those the following morning, was greater still.
“Drivers need to take far greater personal responsibility, and also be aware that while this campaign is over, my officers still have a very sharp focus on detecting and arresting drunk drivers.”
Meanwhile, a police watchdog will inspect British Transport Police (BTP) ahead of a proposed transfer of its Scottish operation to Police Scotland.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) will conduct the joint inspection with HMIC which examines forces in England and Wales.