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Last Updated: Monday, 9 August, 2004, 14:18 GMT 15:18 UK
Drink and drug-driving crackdown
policeman breath testing
Tougher detection measures are to be developed
A crackdown on drink and drug-driving has been outlined at an international conference staged in the UK for the first time in more than 40 years.

Road Safety Minister David Jamieson stressed a commitment to reducing road deaths at the event in Glasgow's SECC.

Speaking at Monday's conference, he hailed Scottish road safety experts for being at the forefront of the battle to reduce road casualties.

But he said more must be done to reduce "the misery" that road deaths bring.

Mr Jamieson was addressing the International Conference on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety (ICADTS).

He revealed that the number of people killed or seriously injured on British roads was down 24% on the 1994/98 baseline, while the number of child casualties had been cut by 40%.

"The UK generally has a good road safety record," he said. "I am also aware of the great deal of successful and important work which Scottish road safety experts have achieved."

We must continue to educate people that if you're using drugs you must not drive
David Jamieson
Road Safety Minister

Last year, 331 people were killed on Scotland's roads alone, while in Britain an average 10 people are killed and 100 seriously injured per day - about one in six of those as a result of drink-driving.

"We must reduce that number," said Mr Jamieson.

The minister said there was still a "small core of people" who continued to drink and drive, while drug-driving was a "newer problem and considerably more complex".

He outlined a range of new measures designed to tackle drink and drug-driving.

They included trials of alcohol locks - devices fitted to cars which require the driver to provide an alcohol-free breath sample before the car will start - and new rules allowing roadside breath tests to be used as evidence, rather than blood tests taken later.

Turning his attention to drug-driving, he said police would make wider use of field impairment tests and technology to detect the presence of drugs at the roadside was currently being developed.

Mr Jamieson added: "By co-operation and collaboration at events such as this we can make headway on dealing with the problem.

"But we must continue to educate people that if you're using drugs you must not drive and we will continue our enforcement and severe penalties against those people who do."

Pioneering measures

This year's ICADTS - the first time the meeting has been held in the UK since 1962 - will run until Friday.

Dr John Oliver, chairman of the 2004 organising committee and head of forensic medicine and science at Glasgow University, said the event was a "real bonus" for the city.

"It's significant the city of Glasgow should host this event in light of road safety measures pioneered by Strathclyde Police and currently in use by the majority of the police forces in the United Kingdom," he said.

Some 450 road safety policy-makers and academics from throughout the world have gathered for the event.

The UK Government aims to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on the roads by 40%, child casualties by 50% and slight injuries by 10% from the 1994/98 baseline by 2010.

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08 Dec 03  |  Scotland

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