Comment: “If fear of ruining their lives doesn’t put off drink-drivers, then what will?”

Still from the government's drink-driving advert
Still from the government's drink-driving advert

Remember that advert where a guy goes up to a bar and asks for another pint, and the barman then impersonates all the people who would be affected by him getting a drink-driving conviction?

For me, it was an extremely effective message. Hand on heart, I don’t touch any alcohol, however small the portion, if I know I’m driving.

Partly, because I don’t see the point – if I have a pint and get the taste for it I’ll enivitably be disappointed when I can’t have another.

Mainly though, it is through the fear of imagining how my life would be ruined if ever I got a conviction for drink driving. Without a driving licence I’d probably lose my job, and without a job I’d probably lose my house. The conviction would sit on my criminal record, making the chances of obtaining decent employment slim to non-existent.

And of course, I would face the shame of going through the courts, and having my friends and family know what I had done.

The trouble is, not enough people are so receptive to this message according to the Police Federation, which is particularly concerned about the increase in the number of women drunk behind the wheel.

I for one am always shocked how many drink-drivers are featured in our weekly court list. Recently I had to deal with an irate woman who stormed into our office complaining we had published her drink-driving offence ‘without her permission’. Her inability to take personal responsibilty was probably why she and so many others ended up in such predicaments.

The federation is now calling for lower drink-drive limits, arguing that England’s are some of the highest in Europe. Scotland has recently lowered its limit and seen prosecutions fall by a third. In the likes of Romania, Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovenia drivers must not have any alcohol in their system.

I would like to see something akin to Germany’s laws introduced here.

Its standard limit is lower than the UK’s, but for drivers involved in accidents this limit is reduced even further. In addition, anyone caught more than once should surely be looking at a lifetime ban and/or a spell in prison? In the wrong hands cars are lethal killing machines and the fewer idiots driving them the better.