GRAMPIAN Police have hailed a drop in the number of drink drivers caught over the festive season.
Police confirmed on Friday that the number caught driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs had dropped by six - welcome, they say, though still symptomatic of an ongoing problem which still needed to be tackled.
The police figures showed that 46 people have been reported locally to the Procurator Fiscal for drink-driving offences between December 3, 2012, and January 4, 2013 against 52 people caught over a similar period last year. Of the 46 people charged this year, 14 were between the ages of 17 and 25 (30%) compared to 31% last year (16).
Three people were detected driving under the influence of drugs, a reduction on seven last year.
Figures for the final week of the campaign showed a sharp rise from last year - with 20 people being caught compared to 12 last year. Nine requests for the forfeiture of vehicles were made during the campaign, with these drivers potentially losing their vehicles at Court.
Chief Inspector Ian Wallace, head of Road Policing, said that any reduction was welcome, but said it was both disappointing and frustrating that so many people were still ignoring the drink-drive warnings.
He said: “The question we need to ask is why, despite all the warnings, did 49 people chose to get behind the wheel when unfit to do so, risking their own lives and those of other road users?
“Despite years of publicity and enforcement, drink drive offences remain relatively constant with, more worryingly, a steady stream of younger drivers adding to the annual levels of offending. We need a cultural change to this issue before we can hope to rid the roads of this kind of irresponsible behaviour.”