Police ‘alarmed’ at increase in young drink drivers

Grampian’s Head of Road Policing has expressed his alarm after a crackdown on local drink drivers revealed that half of the offenders caught in a recent operation were aged between 17 and 25.

Chief Inspector Ian Wallace made his comments after the Grampian force’s June initiative against drink driving came to an end. As well as participating in a fortnight-long Scotland-wide campaign against the offence, Grampian officers continued their operations for the entire month.

The June crackdown saw a slight increase in reporting of drink drive offences – up to 71 from 68 on the same time last year. The final weekend of the operation resulted in 16 reports to the Procurator Fiscal - 10 in Aberdeen City, 5 in Aberdeenshire and 1 in Moray. Of the 13 men and 3 women reported for the offence, 8 of the men were aged between 17 and 25.

Chief Inspector Wallace described the figures for young drivers as ‘alarming’, and expressed his disappointment that some drivers were continuing to place others at risk by ignoring the anti-drink driving message.

“June was an important month for us in terms of enforcing drink driving legislation and this offence always sees a rise during the summer months,“ he said. “We made it clear we would be looking closely for drink drive offences and they weren’t difficult to find.

“We continue to be fortunate in that many people are willing to report drink drivers to us and we receive information and intelligence about potential offenders on a daily basis. We are currently looking out for over 30 alleged drink drivers across the north east who have been reported to us.

“This information has been circulated to Police Officers to enquire into so if you drink and drive, are you one of the drivers we’re looking for? My hope is that this level of information continues and the more detail we receive about the people involved, their vehicles and travel routines then the greater the chance of being able to stop them.

“The most alarming aspect of drink driving continues to be the involvement of young drivers. Last weekend saw 50% of the drink drive offences committed by young drivers. They should be among the most aware of the anti-drink drive message, given that we have spoken with so many secondary school pupils in recent years.

“Drinking and driving has led to the death of a number of local road users in recent years, and this is not an issue we’re going to give up on. To the contrary, we’ll keep talking and spreading the message to those who want to listen and for those who don’t, quite simply, we’ll hunt you out and enforce the law.”