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Drivers committing more than 40 serious offences each day

MOTORISTS are suspected of committing more than 40 serious road traffic offences on Scotland's roads each day, new figures reveal.

KENNY MacASKILL: Keen  to lower the drink-drive limit.
KENNY MacASKILL: Keen to lower the drink-drive limit.

Freedom of Information data has revealed drivers have been reported 60,000 times for serious driving offences in the past four years.

The majority of reports related to careless or dangerous driving, while over one-third involve driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

There have been an additional 203 reports of people killed on the roads due to careless, dangerous or impaired driving.

There were 19,693 reports received by the procurator fiscal over the past four years for alleged drink-driving offences; 2,419 for driving while unfit due to drugs; 37,402 for dangerous/careless driving. and the road deaths.

Police Scotland chief constable Sir Stephen House has made tackling driving offences one of his priorities, while Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill is keen to lower the drink-drive limit from 80mg/100ml down to 50mg.

However, some campaigners have argued the proposals do not go far enough with road safety group Brake calling for an even lower limit of 20mg.

The charity's deputy chief executive Julie Townsend said: "We need the government to introduce a zero-tolerance drink-drive limit, rather than asking drivers to do the impossible and guess if they are safe to drive.

"It is frustrating to see too many drivers still selfishly risking lives by getting behind the wheel after drinking, even when the dangers and consequences are so well documented. The law needs to make it clear drinking any amount of alcohol makes you a danger at the wheel.

"We also need the government to give greater priority to traffic policing, so we have a strong deterrent against this abhorrent behaviour."

She added: "Drug-driving is a menace that causes absolute devastation to families and communities, and ends too many lives too soon. If someone is on drugs, they are not fit to drive, even if they don't seem obviously impaired."

The prevalence of careless and dangerous driving has been a major issue in recent weeks as Police Scotland vastly overshot their quota for speeding tickets last year.

As a result, some road safety groups have called on police to focus their resources on more serious traffic crime.

Neil Greig, director of policy and research with the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: "Speeding can be dealt with by cameras but careless, dangerous and drink-driving needs high-profile, traffic cops in cars. Targeting such criminal behaviour must continue to be a top police priority.

"One step has already been made in this direction as since Autumn, 2013, careless driving is now a fixed-penalty offence that won't be reported.

"This is meant to free up more police time to catch the worst offenders.

"The 60,000 figure will therefore come down but the number of deaths due to criminal driving must come down as well if Police Scotland have got their approach correct."

The SNP first proposed a change to the drink-drive limit in May, 2012, but their plans are said to have been delayed by Home Office red tape. Nevertheless, the Scottish Government say the issue remains a major priority.

A spokesman said: "We are taking forward a raft of measures alongside our road safety partners to further reduce risks including high-profile publicity campaigns to promote safer driving."

A Crown Office spokesman said: "Those who drive dangerously or under the influence of drink or drugs bring misery and devastation to families and loved ones."

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Automotive

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