PSNI will catch drunk drivers and bring them to justice
The Police Service of Northern Ireland remains focused on addressing the issue of drink driving.
Last month we launched our annual winter drink drive campaign targeting motorists driving whilst impaired.
During last year’s operation, 11,500 people were given preliminary roadside breath tests, with 322 people failing those tests and being arrested.
We expect to see this pattern replicated in the 2019 campaign and, in addition, will conduct roadside impairment tests for the presence of drugs as required.
If you take the unacceptable risk of driving after drinking or taking drugs you can expect to be detected by police. You can expect to be prosecuted and lose your driving licence.
If you cause a collision in which someone is killed or seriously injured you can expect a custodial sentence.
The stark reality is that so far this year 52 families across Northern Ireland are coping with the death of loved one because of a road traffic collision.
Many others are recovering from serious and life-changing injuries. As a result, there are drivers having to face the fact that their actions have caused a fatal collision.
The ongoing police operation, which runs day and night through to January 1, will involve road policing officers, local and neighbourhood policing teams working alongside TSG (Tactical Support Group) units across the country.
Once again police will be using legislation, first introduced in 2016, to carry out random breath tests at authorised vehicle checkpoints as very visible, physical deterrents.
It is disappointing that despite our repeated and well publicised warnings a minority of people continue to disregard the safety of themselves and others by taking the shameful and incredibly dangerous risk of driving after drinking or taking drugs. Our message is very simple. Never, ever drink and drive. Just one drink can impair decision-making. Just one drink can cause a collision. Just one drink could kill.
In addition to our authorised checkpoints, every driver or motorcyclist stopped by police, whether for speeding, using a mobile phone, or committing any moving traffic offence, can expect to be breathalysed. Anyone involved in a collision or who we suspect may have consumed alcohol or taken drugs will be tested.
I appreciate many people will be planning on meeting up with family, friends and colleagues in the days ahead to have a drink and enjoy the festivities. Our appeal is that everyone should also plan how to get home safely.
Road users also need be aware of pedestrians who may have been drinking, in built-up areas where they may suddenly step or fall into your path, or who may be walking along unlit rural roads during the hours of darkness.
We all share the roads, so we all share the responsibility for road safety. Slow down. Never drive after drinking or taking drugs. Pay greater attention to your surroundings, and always wear your seat belt.
If everyone follows this advice, then together we can save lives on our roads.
Inspector Rosie Leech is from the PSNI’s road policing team