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Last Updated: Monday, 6 December, 2004, 13:45 GMT
'Learn from my drink drive ban'
Graham Watson
Convicted drink driver Graham Watson says he was stupid
A convicted drink driver has backed police efforts to stop drunken motorists getting behind the wheel.

Graham Watson, a former firefighter with Grampian Fire and Rescue Service, was caught by Grampian Police in Peterhead in April this year.

He was banned from driving for two years and is warning other drivers to learn from his story.

Mr Watson spoke out on Monday, as the force launched its festive road safety campaign.

As part of the continuing effort to raise the profile of the issue, 1,500 posters are being displayed around the Grampian area.

The posters, which show a police car, ambulance, fire engine and air ambulance, have the strap line "Flashing blue lights should only be seen on Christmas Trees. Don't Drink and Drive".

I always wanted a Mercedes when I retired. Now I have one, but it is sitting in the driveway unused
Graham Watson

Mr Watson said: "I know I was stupid and what I did was totally wrong. It is just luck that I did not end up hurting myself, or other people.

"I could so easily have lost control of the car and ended up crashing. I dread to think of the outcome if I had crashed into a bus queue or kids walking home from school.

"I was a firefighter for 28 years and for a lot of that time I specialised in dealing with crashes. I dealt with so many collisions, some of them fatal, where people were drinking.

"I remember thinking how stupid they were. It is unbelievable that I ended up doing what I always despised."

'Social stigma'

The former firefighter added: "Something reminds me every day of what I have done. Simple things like taking the car down to the shops are impossible.

"My son is learning to drive and through my own stupidity I can't take him out in the car. I always wanted a Mercedes when I retired. Now I have one, but it is sitting in the driveway unused."

Drink Drive campaign launch
Grampian Police launched the festive drink drive campaign on Monday
Chief Inspector Mark McLaren, head of Grampian Police's traffic department, said: "Drink driving is not just a problem at Christmas. So far this year we have caught almost 1,000 drink drivers - men and women, young and old, from all backgrounds and all walks of life, who have chosen to run the risk of drinking and driving.

"It is a risk in so many different ways and if caught, the very best you can hope for is that you will walk away alive, albeit without your driving licence (and potentially your livelihood) and carrying a very heavy social stigma.

"That is why it continues to amaze me that last year, during the festive period, we caught 68 drivers who were over the limit.

"It is so sad that what should be a happy family occasion, can so often be ruined by the insanity of drinking and driving. This year, I find myself pleading with the public - please don't drink and drive."


SEE ALSO:
Forces start drink drive blitz
06 Dec 04 |  Scotland



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