Drink driving still problem in area, says veteran officer
There were 65 fatal crashes in the north-east in the year Sergeant Dave Pirie joined the traffic policing unit nearly two decades ago.
And while in the following 19 years that number has slowly come down, he says there is still work to be done.
Chiefly, the veteran officer - who has been with the force for 29 years - says drink-driving is still a major area.
His comments come just weeks after the two-year anniversary of the reduction in the drink-drive limit, from 80mg to 50mg in every 100ml of blood.
“My take on it is there’s always been drivers who will take the chance and drink-drive and that’s a fact of life,” he said.
“However, certainly in my experience what I have seen is there is a big fear problem in the among the public since the reduced levels came in – I think that can only be a
“Mobile phone use to me is as dangerous and lethal as drink driving”
good thing. I think the temptation has been taken away for a lot of people with the fear of the repercussions, certainly people I know wouldn’t chance it where they might have had a glass of wine in the past.
“The limit is so low that it’s easy to get caught out, but for us, the only safe limit is zero.”
But Sgt Pirie, who is based in Mintlaw, also had a strong message for motorists who continued to use their mobile phones while driving.
He said: “I think it’s safe to say we live in a culture where people can’t live without their phones, they are part of everyday life.
“However, there’s a place for them, and it’s not behind the wheel of a car or other vehicle – even handsfree still causes a huge distraction to the driver.
“Mobile phone use to me is as dangerous and lethal as drink driving, I have been to more fatal crashes where they have been involved.”
In his time on the force, Sgt Pirie says he knows only too well the impact these senseless tragedies can have.
“The impact it has on any time of the year, not just the festive period, is horrendous.
“And I see the impact it has on the officers who have to deal with them.
“It’s one of the most horrific things you can deal with on the force.”