Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser

Drink and drug-driving initative

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A festive enforcemen­t campaign to tackle drink and drug-driving has been launched to highlight the criminal and personal consequenc­es of being found guilty of driving under the influence.

The initiative was announced by transport minister Graeme Dey and Police Scotland, and is backed by Niki Smith, who was paralysed in a road collision in 1997 when she accepted a lift from someone who – unknown to her – had been drinking.

She has now shared her experience to remind Monklands motorists that drink-driving can have devastatin­g consequenc­es and urges anyone to think twice before getting behind the wheel – as even one drink is too many if you’re driving.

With Christmas parties in full swing, the enforcemen­t campaign warns motorists of a zero-tolerance approach to drink and drug-driving.

Niki, 48, said: “It must have been heartbreak­ing 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 post-traumatic stress disorder. I’m glad it was me, as I would have struggled to accept her having my injury.

“There have definitely been years of stress, physical pain and frustratio­n for me and everybody involved in my life.

“I’ve 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, and if I hadn’t had my kids I don’t think I’d be the person I am today.”

Head of road policing Chief Superinten­dent Louise Blakelock said: “I’m urging drivers to plan ahead this festive season; think how you’re getting home after drinking and consider the impact alcohol can still have the morning after.”

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