Police chief’s warning over drink driving

PSNI 'H' District Commander, Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray.
PSNI 'H' District Commander, Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray.

A senior police officer has issued a stark warning to Larne motorists about the potentially life-changing consequences of drink driving.

The PSNI’s winter drink driving campaign may be at an end, but Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray has stressed that officers will continue to crackdown on offenders throughout the year.

“Just because Christmas is over, don’t think our campaigns are over,” said Mr Murray.

The H District Commander highlighted that the vast majority of police officers are equipped with the means to carry out roadside breath tests on drivers they suspect of being under the influence of alcohol.

And he has urged local motorists to consider the potential legal and personal outcome of drinking driving.

In an effort to drive home the sobering consequences of being detected over the legal limit, Mr Murray asked drivers to put themselves in the shoes of someone who has been arrested and brought to the custody suite at a police station to provide an evidential breath sample.

He added: “Imagine being lead into the custody suite to provide a sample of breath. You would be feeling sick, thinking about your family, your children, your job, paying off your car and your mortgage. All that depends on blowing into a machine.

“That is the easy part. Now image you had killed a child. Layer that on top and I’d say you’d be on your knees.”

Mr Murray said 79 people lost their lives on Northern Ireland’s roads last year, and pointed out this was six times the amount of people that were killed in the recent attacks in France.

“If that happened in one day the world would stop, but because it’s on the road, it doesn’t always connect with people in the same way,” he continued.

“It is a horrific and violent way to lose your life. I have been to the scene of many road traffic collisions over the years and they leave a lasting and indelible mark on everyone involved,” he added, listing speed, inattention and drink driving as main causation factors.

Mr Murray concluded that while it was the responsibility of police to travel the roads and detect offenders, he added: “Only personal responsibility of motorists can stamp out drink driving.”

During the PSNI’s annual festive campaign, 270 motorists were detected drink driving – 12 more than in the same period last year.

Four of these offences took place in the Larne area, up from three on the previous year.