Number of drink drivers in Mid Ulster rises

Drink driving charge
Drink driving charge
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A total of 27 people in Mid Ulster were caught during the PSNI’s winter drink driving crackdown.

That was a 12 percent increase compared to the previous campaign.

Police launched their operation on November 27 and it ran until January 2, catching almost 400 motorists across Northern Ireland, which was a 40% increase.

The figure includes motorists who were unfit to drive, or who were unable or refused to give a sample.

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said: “When we launched this operation at the end of November, we warned drivers not to take the risk because police are determined to catch drink drivers.”

“While we have seen a huge increase in detections, it’s difficult to accept this situation as a success, we shouldn’t be detecting anyone drink driving.

“One person was detected at four times the drink drive limit, with a reading of 140 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millimetres of breath while the legal limit is 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.”

The officer added: “It’s disappointing that despite our warnings, a minority of people completely disregarded the safety of themselves and others by continuing this shameful and incredibly dangerous practice.

“Every year across Northern Ireland, drinking and driving kills, maims and wrecks families. Police will continue to detect people who insist on driving after having taken drugs or alcohol. We are again appealing for all motorists to consider the consequences of their actions.

“Think about the consequences to yourself and your family of being involved in a serious collision. How would you feel if your actions resulted in you or one of your family being paralysed? How would you feel if some innocent person was killed?

“Across Northern Ireland there are nearly 400 people who took the risk and they were caught. They are lucky to be looking forward to a court appearance where they will most likely lose their driving license for one or more years, be fined, and will have great difficulty in obtaining car insurance in the future.

“Many also risk losing their jobs or going to jail. The alternative consequences had they not been caught do not bear thinking about.”

Reflecting on the figures, Environment Minister Mark H Durkan added: “Drink Driving has caused over 2,000 deaths and serious injuries since 2000. That is the shocking reality of mixing alcohol with driving.”