Scotland’s festive drink and drug-driving campaign is this year highlighting the criminal and personal consequences of being found guilty of driving under the influence.
With Christmas parties returning this year, the enforcement campaign warns motorists of a zero-tolerance approach to drink and drug-driving, and reminds them they can still be over the limit the next day.
Chief supt Louise Blakelock, Police Scotland’s head of road policing, said: “As we approach the festive season, our officers will be focused on targeting drivers who recklessly put others at risk by driving after consuming alcohol or drugs.
“Driving under the influence reduces reaction times and continues to be a factor in serious and fatal collisions. The fact you could kill or injure yourself or another member of the public should be reason enough not to risk it.”
The campaign is backed by 48-year old Niki Smith, who was paralysed in a road collision in 1997, when she accepted a lift from someone who – unknown to Niki – had been drinking.
Niki, from Aberdeenshire, has now shared her experience to remind drivers that drink-driving can have devastating consequences and urges anyone to think twice before getting behind the wheel.
Recalling the day of the collision, she said: “It was a Friday evening and my sister and I were having a great night out. I enjoyed letting my hair down in between working as a carer and being a busy mum.
“We accepted a lift from someone we knew, although we had no idea he’d been drinking. It was a small decision that changed my life irreversibly.
“It must have been heart-breaking for my family and partner to be told I’d broken my neck and was paralysed. My sister, who was in the car with me, broke her collarbone and was later diagnosed with PTSD. I’m glad it was me, as I would have struggled to accept her having my injury.
“There has definitely been years of stress, physical pain and frustration for me and everybody involved in my life. I have now found ways to enjoy special moments and not just sit at home and dwell on the difficult times. I’ve had to become a more confident person so people see me and not just the wheelchair. If I hadn’t had my kids I don’t think I’d be the person I am today.”
To coincide with the campaign, the Scottish Government and Road Safety Scotland will run its successful #DriveSmart assets – featuring the straight-talking Gran character – across TV, cinema, online and social media throughout December.
Graeme Dey, Scotland’s minister for transport, said: “Driving while under the influence puts not only the driver, but passengers and other road users at risk of serious injury, or even worse.
“Our message is clear, if you’re having a drink, leave the car at home and if you’re driving, the best approach is none.”