Drink Driving

Five routes to court, AA warns

20 December 2009

The police are increasing their targeting of drink drivers this festive season, a move welcomed by the AA and our members, especially as annual figures for 2008 showed an increase in drink-drive deaths – to 430 – while there was a substantial fall in overall road deaths.

Last Christmas 183,397 breath tests were carried out with 5% proving positive, and there is every indication that Christmas 2009 will be similar. And there are five simple ways for a drink driver to be caught – and end up in Court:


Route one – you could be caught at a roadblock.

Different methods are being used in different forces, with some carrying out widespread testing at peak drink driving times – North Wales Police have already carried out 6000 tests in the first fortnight of their campaign.

Shopped by a friend

Route two – you could be caught after being "shopped" by a friend.

Other forces will be targeting their enforcement on information about where drink driving is happening. The information comes from many sources. Particularly it seems that the public is becoming much more willing to "shop" drink drivers to the police.

The AA/Populus panel has shown that 80 per cent felt they would be likely to inform the police if someone they didn't know drove under the influence of a large amount of alcohol – enough to make them far in excess of the legal limit. Sixty seven percent said they would do so for somone they did know.

Following an accident

Route three – you could be caught because of an accident – perhaps through no fault of your own – like being shunted from behind.

It is a standard policy for the police to breathalyse drivers involved in any accidents they attend – regardless of blame.

The next morning

Route four – a roadblock, friend or accident could get you caught the next morning.

Meanwhile, staying out into the early hours of the morning, or drinking an awful lot can leave you over the limit the next morning.

Drug driving

Route five – a court appearance for drug driving.

Another alternative is to opt out of alcohol, and choose to take illegal drugs. All the scenarios above can apply, and if a policeman suspects impairment and a breath test is passed, then FIT – the field impairment test can be used to check for impairment and a drug test required.

"The message to drivers this Christmas is just don't risk it as there are many ways that drink or drug driving can lead to court" says Edmund King, AA president.

"Drink driving convictions mean loss of licence, possible job loss and higher insurance premiums. Drink drivers also inflict pain and suffering on others. If you drive don't drink, if you drink don't drive."

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21 December 2009