Drink drive cases up over Christmas – IAS Comment

The 18 per cent increase in the number of motorists caught
drinking and driving over the Christmas and New Year period, and the 4
per cent increase in the number of alcohol related road accidents,
provides further evidence that the anti-drink drive campaign is
floundering and may be going into reverse. The decline in convictions
for drinking and driving and in alcohol-related road casualties came to a
halt in 1994 and there was an increase in convictions and casualties in
1995. The figures for 1996 are not yet available but those for the
Christmas period are not encouraging.

The IAS fully supports the call by the the chief police
officers for ‘unfettered discretion’ to breath test drivers and for a
lower legal limit. These measures are now clearly necessary to reinforce
the anti-drink drive campaign and to continue progress in reducing
casualties. They are also clearly supported by the great majority of the
public.

Equally, however, the IAS suggests that the anti-drink drive
campaign may now be being undermined by Government policy in other
areas, most obviously the policy of the last few budgets of reduced
alcohol taxation and cheaper alcohol.