Drink driv­ing still prob­lem in area, says vet­eran of­fi­cer

Po­lice:

The Press and Journal (North-East) - - News - BY STEPHEN WALSH

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.”

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