Festive 2011 campaign

The 2011 Drink/Drug-Driving campaign is all about the risks and consequences and the message that Scotland has got even tougher on drink/drug-driving.

Tougher consequences

Previously those caught drink or drug driving for a second time can have their car taken away and sold or crushed.

This year motorists are facing tougher consequences following the extension of the vehicle forfeiture scheme, to include first time offenders who are found to be well over the drink drive limit (three times the limit or more) and those who refuse to provide a breath test or blood or urine sample without a reasonable excuse. These offenders can now have their vehicle forfeited (i.e. lose their car for good as it will be sold or destroyed).

Don't Risk It

It's a tougher line on drink/drug-driving in Scotland, led by the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS) and supported by the Scottish Government, Road Safety Scotland, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, Scottish Court Service and Crimestoppers. Their joint aim is to raise awareness of the consequences of drink/drug-driving and, ultimately, stop people from doing it. While the general consensus may be that drink/drug-driving is considered socially unacceptable, the facts show that it is still happening — a repeat offender is caught every day, and approximately 1 in 7 deaths on Scottish roads involve drivers who are over the legal limit.

As well as posing a risk to yourself and others, if you get caught drink/drug-driving you also face a whole host of consequences. Not only will you lose your licence and get an automatic 12 month ban, you get a criminal record for a minimum of 20 years and risk being fined up to £5,000. And now, you are at risk of losing your car for good.

It's a simple message — don't risk it.

Frequently asked questions

All drivers caught drink/drug-driving face losing their licence, getting a criminal record and a fine of up to £5000. In Scotland, first time offenders are now at risk of having their car sold or crushed.

It is two years since the vehicle forfeiture scheme was introduced for drink drivers, and a year since extended to drug drivers. Since then there have been 702 repeat offenders caught with 155 vehicles forfeited and a further 18 vehicles seized pending a decision by the court.

A repeat offender is caught everyday.

The latest figures show that approximately 1 in 7 deaths on Scottish roads involve drivers who are over the legal limit. The risk of being involved in an accident increases rapidly when alcohol and/or drugs are consumed. The campaign aims to highlight the risks and consequences of driving under the influence of drink or drugs, with a particular focus on those who have a previous conviction for these offences.

A conviction for driving or attempting to drive whilst above the legal alcohol limit or while under the influence of drugs will result in:

  • Loss of licence – an automatic 12 month driving ban
  • A risk of being fined up to £5,000
  • A criminal record – for a minimum of 20 years
  • An offence which stays on your licence for 11 years
  • A risk of imprisonment
  • A risk of having your car sold or crushed

The amount of drink taken makes no difference – whether just over the limit or well over the limit. In the eyes of the law, you are still a convicted drunk-driver and the consequences are exactly the same. And if caught driving over the limit the next morning, you also face the same consequences as if they had been caught the night before.

Causing death by dangerous driving whilst under the influence of drink/drugs will result in a minimum 2 year driving ban and up to 14 years in prison with an unlimited fine. Having a criminal record can impact on your life, affecting relationships, job prospects, travel (for example to the USA), insurance premiums, hiring a car and social standing.

Authorities have the power to seize and forfeit vehicles under the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988. There was an amendment made in 1995 which allows the forfeiture of vehicles in various offences.

Forfeiture is an initiative started for the 2009 ACPOS festive campaign. Under the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988, authorities have the power to seize vehicles under a warrant issued by the court for drivers who are caught driving under the influence of drink or drugs for a second time. On conviction, the forfeited vehicle is sold or destroyed.

The forfeiture campaign was launched in December 2009 and targeted repeat drink drivers, as of summer 2010 it was extended to include those who are caught driving under the influence of drinks/drugs for a second time. In this year’s Festive Campaign the initiative will be extended to include first time offenders found to be 3 times the drink drive limit or more and those who refuse to provide a sample for analysis without a reasonable excuse.

When a car is forfeited it becomes the property of the Court and it will be sold or destroyed.

The car can only be forfeited on conviction and is likely to be held in storage pending a conviction.

Sentencing is a matter for the Court who will deal with each case on its own merits.

The current prescribed limit in the UK is set out in section 11 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and is 35 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood or 107 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of urine.

You don’t have to be over the limit to be charged with drink driving.

ACPOS, the Scottish Government and many other organisations have been supportive of reducing the legal alcohol limit for some time to 50 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood and has been calling on the UK Government for some time to take action to lower the drink drive limit UK-wide or to transfer the powers to Scotland to allow action to be taken for offences in Scotland.

These powers are being devolved through the Scotland Bill currently going through Westminster and once passed, Scottish Ministers will then consult on changing the law in Scotland to lower the drink drive limit at the earliest available opportunity. The Scottish Government has also been pressing Westminster for the police to get powers to allow police officers to carry out breath testing anytime, anywhere but the UK Government has not granted those powers nor does the Scotland Bill transfer those powers to Scotland but we will continue to press for these powers.

No, but the police have a series of tests that can indicate if you are impaired through drugs.

Whether you are just over the limit or well over the limit, in the eyes of the law, you are a drunk driver and will receive a driving ban of at least 12 months.

The legislation applies to all motor vehicles, including cars, motorcycles etc.

The legislation allows for a vehicle that is used whilst committing the offence to be forfeited. Whether or not it is forfeited is a matter for the Court which will be provided with relevant information, such as ownership, to enable it to make an informed decision.

No money will be ‘made' from this initiative. There will be costs involved in relation to administration, storage and the sale of any vehicle.

There will be no increased resources required to police this initiative as enforcement against drink and drug driving is 24/7 business for the police anyway. Arrangements will be in place to physically remove any vehicles which are to be seized.

There will be no increased cost to police forces in Scotland. The initiative will be met using existing resources.

As with all convictions, individuals will be able to appeal any decision made by the High Court of Justiciary.

If an offender gets his/her car back during this initiative, they will not be charged.

The ACPOS drink/drug drive campaign is supported by the Scottish Government, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, the Scottish Court Service and Road Safety Scotland. ACPOS also team up with Crimestoppers to encourage people to report anyone they suspect of drink or drug driving.

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