14 November 2018
Highlands & Islands Regional MSP and Road Safety campaigner, David Stewart, recently highlighted the issue surrounding the drink driver statistics in the Highlands & Islands (related to a four year period only) and he claimed it would be more beneficial if these figures were broken down to annual statistics.
He advised that he was to contact Police Scotland by means of an FOI to ascertain the yearly breakdown of these figures which would then allow more meaningful analysis.
David said, " I have received a response to my FOI from Police Scotland advising that they will not provide the breakdown I requested, because the information can be sourced in the public domain. I have found the desired documents on line which reveal that the detections for drink driving in the Highlands & Islands for the year 2014/15 was 430. For the years 2015/16 it was 484,for 16/17 it was 409 and for 17/18 it was 484 the same as years 2015/16.
" My analysis of these statistics reveal that the introduction of a lower drink drive limit has done little to deter the drinker and driver.
"Four years ago in the Highlands & Islands there were 430 offenders detected. Last year for the same period that number jumped to 484, so the trend is upwards.
" To address this issue we have to look at other options such as alcohol ignition interlocks being fitted to new vehicles and mandatory rehabilitation programmes for those convicted of drink driving.
"Clearly we need to do more with regards education. In this regards I will be writing to the Cabinet Secretary for Transport asking what further measures the Government are taking to deal with the serious issue of drinking and driving because there clearly is a hard core of such people out there who are not listening and are a danger to other road users.
The Highland MSP and Road safety Campaigner wants clear strategy to tackle drink driving.
He has sought a closer examination of the drink drive statistics to gain a more accurate picture of this offence in the Highlands & Islands.
"Speaking this morning he said, " Figures in the Press recently indicated that between 5 December 2014 and 1 April this year there were 988 motorists charged with drink driving related offences in the Highlands & Islands.
"However these statistics are over a four year period.
"To get a more accurate picture I would like to see what the statistics show year on year since 5 December 2014.
"If there has been a steady increase then obviously the education with regards the reduced limit of 50mg in 100ml of blood has not got through to all drivers.
"Interestingly a University of Strathclyde study found that the reduction in the alcohol limit in Scotland indicated that the reductions in terms of road safety as a result were small.
"Previously the limit was 80mg in 100 ml of blood.
"By interrogation of these statistics it will allow those concerned to address the drink driving culture more effectively.
" Clearly we need to get the message across that the amount of alcohol a driver can consume before driving is none.
" I will be contacting the local Police Commander for the Highlands & Islands to ascertain what the drink driving statistics were for the years 5 December 2014 - 5 December 2015 and for the same period 2015-2016 and 2016 -2017 and finally 2017 until now
David concluded, " Maybe the time has come for Mandatory education on negative effects alcohol/drugs when applying for a driving licence and also as part of the driving test.
"Another area we could look at is alcohol ignition interlocks being fitted to new vehicles and mandatory rehabilitation programmes for those convicted of drink driving.