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Festive drink and drug driving offences extremely disappointing, say police in Highlands and Islands

By Alan Hendry

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Police have expressed dismay after it emerged that more than 50 motorists had been arrested for either drink or drug driving in the Highlands and Islands over a month-long period taking in Christmas and New Year.

Twenty-four people were arrested for drink driving and 27 for drug driving across the divisional area during the festive campaign – prompting a renewed warning about the "catastrophic consequences" of taking to the road while under the influence.

In Scotland as a whole, more than 500 motorists were reported for drink/drug drive offences.

Inspector Donnie Mackinnon, from Police Scotland's Road Policing Division in Dingwall, said: “It is extremely disappointing to see that there continues to be a number of people who knowingly take risks and place themselves and others in danger.

"Driving while under the influence of drink or drugs can have catastrophic consequences and I urge those who think it is acceptable to seriously consider the impact that it can have on you, your family and friends and the wider community.

"Additionally, this behaviour impacts our emergency service partners at what is a particularly challenging time so I appeal to the public to read and fully comply with government guidelines which are in place for all our safety.

"If you have information or concerns about anyone who may be drink or drug driving, please call us on 101. Information from the public can help take dangerous drivers off the road and also helps us to identify areas where we may need to increase proactive patrols.”

During the festive campaign, between December 1 and January 3, police across Scotland carried out 4013 roadside tests. Overall, 508 drivers were detected for drink/drug offences.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Williams said: “It is extremely disappointing to see that people are still willing to take the risk and drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

"The pandemic has seen a decrease in the number of vehicles on the road. However, our campaign to improve road safety has been as important as ever and was focused and intelligence led.

“Once again this year, a number of drivers were reported to us by colleagues, friends or family members. I wish to thank everyone who had the courage to report drink or drug drivers and I ask that you continue to report concerning driving behaviour to us.

"This information helps our officers to act quickly to stop drivers who are under the influence before they kill or seriously injure someone.

“We will continue to take action against those who selfishly put others at risk by driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.”

Scotland's justice secretary Humza Yousaf said: “It is disappointing that some people are selfish and irresponsible by taking drugs or alcohol before getting behind the wheel of a car – putting themselves as well as other road users and officers at risk.

“I commend those who took steps to report individuals they suspected of drink or drug driving to the police. It can be a difficult decision to make, but it is the right decision and they can take comfort from knowing that they perhaps prevented somebody being seriously injured or killed in a collision.

“The laws are in place to keep everyone on Scotland’s roads safe and it is the responsibility of all individual motorists to adhere to them. Police officers will continue to tackle those they suspect to be committing driving offences.”

Of the 508 people detected for drink/drug offences, 28 drivers were caught the morning after.

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