Page last updated at 10:25 GMT, Tuesday, 12 January 2010

PSNI want to have powers to seize drink drivers' cars

Breath test

The PSNI want to have new powers to seize and destroy the cars of convicted drink drivers.

Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland said under Scottish law, people's cars can be taken and, if they are found guilty, the cars are crushed.

"It would mean, if you are caught drink driving, we can seize your car and ask the courts to dispose of your car.

"You lose your licence, you lose your car, you could lose your liberty and also sadly, you could lose your life."

The latest figures show there has been a significant fall in the number of motorists caught drink driving over the Christmas period in NI compared to the previous year.

Police carried out 5,780 tests, out of which 414 drivers were over the legal limit.

That was down 13% on the same winter crackdown in 2008.

But ACC McCausland said there was still a minority of people in Northern Ireland who drink and drive.

More men than women were detected and the average age was 36.

The youngest person detected was 16 years old and the oldest was 80 years old.

The assistant chief constable said the border drink driving campaign which was carried out in conjunction the the Garda was particularly successful.

"While we welcome the fact that the vast majority of right thinking people realise that drink driving is shameful and unacceptable, clearly there is still an irresponsible minority who ignore all advice and warnings.

"Whilst the current publicity campaign has ended, the detection of drink driving will remain a year-round priority for police," he said.

ACC McCausland said those caught drink-driving "begin 2010 with the prospect of going to court where they will almost certainly lose their driving licence.

"They should count themselves lucky. They could have lost their own life or destroyed the lives of others had police not stopped them."

The Scottish law targets repeat drink-driving offenders. They risk losing their car for good and it can be auctioned or destroyed.

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