Belfast Telegraph

Time to face sobering reality that drink-driving is indefensible

Editor's Viewpoint

After the pre-Christmas campaign on drink-driving, it is shocking to discover the figures are up by 114 on the same period last year.

It is obvious that some people are not taking the warnings seriously and are still prepared to take a chance despite the dire consequences.

The range of offenders is also disturbing, with the youngest at 16 and the oldest at 83. Equally disturbing, one serving police officer is included on the list.

There are considerably more men than women involved, but the persistent problem crosses gender and age groups.

Since 2000, drink-driving has accounted for some 2,000 deaths and serious injuries.

These figures really ought to speak for themselves.

No one can reasonably claim that they do not know about the dangers involved. The risks are made plain through media campaigns, so drivers should not have to think twice.

To drink and drive is an act of total stupidity and utter selfishness, given the reality that the offenders may kill or injure others and also put their own lives and limbs in great danger.

The chance of being caught is a huge deterrent because of the significant penalties involved. This includes automatic suspension from driving, with a possible job loss, as well as a hefty insurance premium imposed later on when the motorist returns to driving.

There is also the social stigma involved. There was a time when a conviction for drink-driving was regarded as bad luck, or even merely roguish behaviour.

All that has changed, and people now frown on the anti-social behaviour of drink-drivers.

On top of that, the regular police blitzes, which themselves should act as a deterrent, show the extent of the problem.

The PSNI have more than enough to do without having to devote their resources to deal with wilful, irresponsible and stupid drink-drivers.

There are simply no excuses any more. It is literally time to sober up to the grave issues involved.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph