In excess of 200 drink-drive offenders in Derry have completed rehabilitation courses over the last decade to help prevent them from re-offending, it has been revealed.
The TTC Group, the organisation responsible for delivering the courses in 12 different towns and cities in Northern Ireland, made the announcement after it was awarded the contract to continue providing the training for a further five years.
The company is now hoping to work even closer with local courts to inform them of the ability to offer an offender - who is disqualified for 12 months or more in respect of an alcohol-related driving offence - the chance to complete the course.
Training, which is provided by a team of expert professionals, tackles the problems associated with drink-driving, giving participants the chance to change their ways in the future and, thereby, reduce re-offending and the possibility of injuries and deaths.
“We have developed some excellent relationships over the last 10 years and recent reports have highlighted the positive difference the Course for Drink-Drive Offenders (CDDO) is having here,” Eddie Phair, Northern Ireland Programme Manager for TTC Group said.
“The challenge now is to build on this and make sure we continue to deliver high quality courses that are having a lasting impact.
“We’ve already supported 217 offenders in Derry with their rehabilitation and we will continue to provide this essential course over the next five years.”
He went on: “There’s definitely some work to do to get more referrals from judges and this is something we are working on with the court system.
“I’d like to think we can get to a position where half of all offenders are taking and completing the courses.”
The courts here can offer drink-drive offenders the opportunity to attend a drink-drive rehabilitation course as a sentencing option.
Where an offender is disqualified for 12 months or more - in respect of an alcohol-related driving offence - the court may order that the period of disqualification be reduced if the offender satisfactorily completes an approved Course for Drink-Drive Offenders.
Attendance is voluntary, costs are met by the offender and those successfully completing the course receive a reduction of up to 25 per cent in the period of disqualification.
“To successfully complete a course, a participant must attend all 10 modules delivered over three sessions.
“Northern Ireland is set for some big changes when it comes to Drink Driving, with the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill set to be introduced in the future,” said Mr Phair.
“This means that the current blood alcohol concentration of 80 mgs of alcohol per 100 mls of blood will be reduced to 50 mgs for a typical driver and 20 mgs to a specified person and that covers learners, novices and professional drivers.”
TTC Group, which is headquartered in Telford in England, delivers driver education courses to 400,000 motorists every year across the U.K.