Scotland

Police Scotland records rise in Christmas drink-drivers

Breath test Image copyright PA
Image caption There was a rise in the number of people driving over the limit the morning after they had been out drinking

There was a rise in the number of drink-drivers caught by police over Christmas and new year, the Scottish government has said.

Police stopped almost 19,000 drivers during a four-week campaign. A total of 625 - or one in 30 - were found to be over the limit.

This compares to the one in 36 caught drink-driving during the same period last year.

More than 9% tested between the old and new limits, up 4% on 2015-16.

The drink-drive limit was lowered in Scotland, from 80mg to 50mg in every 100ml of blood, in December 2014.

The Scottish government said that of the 625 detected, 46 were caught the morning after drinking the night before - up from 13 in 2015/16.

Police Scotland's campaign ran from 2 December 2016 to 2 January 2017.

'Absolute disgrace'

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: "It is hugely disappointing to see a rise in the number of drivers who have flouted the law and put their lives, and the lives of others, at risk over the festive period.

"Of course people should be enjoying time with their loved ones over Christmas and new year but this isn't an excuse to ignore the law and get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol."

Mr Matheson said the best approach was not drinking at all if you were driving.

Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins said: "It is an absolute disgrace that so many people were prepared to risk their own lives, as well as the lives of innocent people, by recklessly taking to the roads while in a drunken state.

"We were massively active over the festive season and while the number of tests we carried out was greater than last year, proportionately the number of people caught, particularly those the following morning, was greater still."

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