WITH the festive season well underway and invitations coming through the door, the temptation to drive and drive home may be higher.
Many view it as just a few innocent drinks, and unlikely to take them over the limit – but how many of us actually know what that limit is, and how it will affect us individually?
According to police statistics, one in seven deaths on Scotland’s roads are estimated to be caused by drivers over the legal alcohol limit.
No matter how much of how little you are over — or how little damage you cause — if caught you will automatically lose your licence, be banned from driving for 12 months and notch up a criminal record.
You also run the risk of losing your car for good — the vehicle forfeiture scheme means that those caught drink or drug driving a second time, or first time offenders well over the limit or who refuse to cooperate, can have their car taken away to be sold or crushed.
The Scottish government and Road Safety Scotland have teamed up with the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS) this week to launch the annual drink drug drive campaign.
Heading the drive for Strathclyde is its head of road policing, chief inspector Stewart Carle.
He commented: “This is the year when Scotland gets even tougher on those who choose to drive when they are unfit through drinking alcohol or taking drugs.
“It is dangerous and socially unacceptable to flout the law by driving over the limit, and we will do everything in our power to track down those who do it and bring them to justice”.
The Strathclyde region has by far the highest instances of drink or drug driving, with 3,164 recorded during the 2010/11 festive campaign, and a total 394 vehicles seized or forfeited.
In the Glasgow south and East Renfrewshire divisions alone, 446 drivers were found to be driving under the influence of alcohol of drugs, or failed to provide a specimen to prove otherwise.
Chief inspector Carle continued: “I would also ask people to consider one other set of figures before breaking the law.
“Just over one in seven deaths on Scottish Roads involve drivers who are over the legal limit.
“This means that such fatalities cost the Scottish economy an estimated £55 million a year.
“The cost to families of the loss of a parent, a sibling or a child cannot be calculated”.
More information on the festive campaign is available at www.dontriskit.info.