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MacAskill hits out at motorists caught by campaign

JUSTICE Secretary Kenny MacAskill has described the hundreds of motorists who drove under the influence of drink or drugs over the festive period as "absolutely deplorable".

CRACKDOWN: Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill watches as an actor undergoes the breath test that caught hundreds of drivers. Picture: PA
CRACKDOWN: Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill watches as an actor undergoes the breath test that caught hundreds of drivers. Picture: PA

A month-long crackdown caught 462 motorists driving while under the influence.

Mr MacAskill has condemned the motorists who put others at risk as having outdated attitudes to drink driving.

Those caught include a man seen staggering from his vehicle on Boxing Day in the Strathclyde area who was found to be six times the legal alcohol limit.

Another driver in the area on New Year's Day undertook a marked police car at more than 100mph, then hit a central barrier and a lamppost.

In Tayside on Hogmanay, a 20-year-old man drove a forklift truck on the road between Forfar and Quilko while twice the legal limit on Hogmanay.

He had taken the vehicle from his employer's yard as he could not get a taxi home, police said.

In Fife, a driver who hit a pedestrian in a car park on December 27 later proved to be nearly twice the legal limit.

In Edinburgh on New Year's Day, a family of six were in a parked car in Portland Street when it was hit by another vehicle which did not stop. The 43-year-old female driver was traced and found to have been drinking.

The number of offenders is down from 496 last year, but police are pledging to keep the pressure on motorists.

The campaign led by the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (Acpos) ran from December 3 to January 3.

Mr MacAskill said: "We may have moved into a new year but it's clear some drivers still hold outdated attitudes and think it's okay to drink and drive.

"Sadly we've already seen hundreds of drivers ignore the risks and put lives in danger in the last few weeks.

"That is absolutely deplorable in this day and age and these people will find out the hard way their actions will be met with the full force of the law."

Deputy Chief Constable Tom Ewing, who heads the Acpos road policing unit, said: "This year's campaign may be over but that does not mean police officers will be ignoring the scourge of drink and drug driving.

"It will be part of our routine night and day to look out for those who are prepared to take the risk. We will track these people down using every means at our disposal and bring them to justice."

The campaign by the eight Scottish police forces will be the last drink-drive campaign before Police Scotland is formed in April.

Mr Ewing added: "The figures are down slightly but in no way should that be seen as some kind of success.

"There are still too many people drinking and taking drugs before getting behind the wheel.

"I would urge anyone tempted to take the risk to think very carefully about the con-sequences. You will lose your licence, may lose your vehicle and face a substantial fine."

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