Crackdown in drink driving

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd pictured at the launch of the Christmas crackdown. (Photo Stephen Hamilton)
Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd pictured at the launch of the Christmas crackdown. (Photo Stephen Hamilton)

Police in Derry have confirmed that spot checks to detect and deter drink driving will continue into the New Year.

Police have stepped up random breath testing across the city over recent days as part of a Northern Ireland wide campaign to crack down on people taking chances while over the legal limit.

It comes after changes to the law gave police new powers to set up checkpoints and carry out random breath tests on motorists.

City based PSNI Inspector for Road Policing John Miller said the public reaction to the operation locally has been largely positive.

He revealed that on the first morning of the operation, in Coleraine, County Derry the first person stopped and tested was over the limit and was subsequently arrested.

“Drink driving accounts for 10% of all fatalities and serious injuries, which is still a heck of a chunk,” he said.

“What we are trying to do is protect not just the victims of those who drink and drink but also those drivers as well.

“If you are asking yourself the question ‘am I alright to drive?’, then you’re not. Don’t take the risk.

“In Derry there’s a thriving taxi community. People should always plan ahead and organise taxis or ensure there is a designated driver.”

Insp. Miller said that police had taken steps to make sure the operation over the festive season caused minimum disruption to traffic, and said that most people stopped had heard about the campaign via the media and social media.

He also vowed: “There is much more to come. This is not just for Christmas.

“Whilst this is an intense period of operations around Christmas, we will be continuing operations beyond that.”

Insp. Miller said that this also gave parity on both sides of the border as the gards have had such powers for a number of years.