Checkpoints and random breath tests warning to drink drivers

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd
Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd

Police in Larne are to deploy tough new testing powers at vehicle checkpoints in a crackdown on drink drivers this winter.

Under new legislation, the PSNI will have powers to perform random breath tests.

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said: “Our basic message remains the same; there is no safe limit, so never ever drink and drive.

“Previously, police officers needed a reasonable suspicion about the manner of someone’s driving, have seen a moving traffic offence, or been called to a collision before requiring a preliminary breath test from a driver.

“The new legislation means we can now establish vehicle checkpoints solely for the purpose of carrying out random breath tests, something which we hope will act as an even more visible, physical deterrent.

“During last year’s operation, we detected 375 people who’d decided to risk killing or injuring themselves, their family, friends or other innocent road users by deciding to drive after drinking.

“Just one drink can impair ability to drive. Considering that in some instances, we have stopped drivers who were so drunk, they could barely stand when they got out of their vehicle, just beggars belief.

“At the other end of the spectrum, we detected some drivers who had gone out socialising and not intended to drive, but their circumstances changed and they decided to take a risk. A risk which inevitably results in a driving ban,” he said.

In addition to running operations to catch drink drivers throughout the day and night, in the weeks leading up to Christmas and into the New Year.

The officer continued: “Let me be absolutely clear. If you find yourself asking the question, I wonder if I’m OK to drive? The answer is; you are not. Do not take the risk.

“The consequences, as police officers and our emergency service colleagues witness first hand, can be catastrophic.

“In addition to the checkpoints, any driver or motorcyclist we stop, whether for speeding, using a mobile phone, or committing any moving traffic offence can expect to be breathalysed. So too can anyone involved in a collision or who we suspect may have consumed alcohol or taken drugs.”

“I want all motorists to think about the consequences to yourself and your family of being involved in a serious collision.

“How would you feel if your actions resulted in you or one of your family being paralysed or someone was killed?”