A stark warning on the dangers of drink driving and the life-changing consequences of being detected has been issued to local motorists.
Speaking in Ballymena, PSNI ‘H’ District Commander Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray said he wanted people to be well aware that detection of drink driving is an all year round ‘campaign’ for police.
“Don’t think because Christmas is over we are not out,” said Mr Murray who stressed that all police cars are equipped with the means to roadside breath test motorists they suspect may be impaired by alcohol or those involved in moving traffic offences or road accidents.
“I’m trying to get out the message - ‘is it really worth another glass of wine at the Golf Club or another two pints of beer in the pub’? That’s the easy part,” he said.
He pointed out that when a person is brought to the police station on suspicion of drink driving the realisation of the potential consequences can quickly set in when they are shown to the custody suite.
“You’ll think about your family, partner, children, job, mortgage, paying off your car and how that develops is going to depend on how you blow into a machine,” he said.
“Imagine if you’d killed a child; if an ambulance was taking that child to hospital and you didn’t know what was happening to it. Layer that on top and I’d say you’d be on your knees,” said Mr Murray.
He continued: “Seventy-nine people died on our roads last year - that’s six times the amount of people that died in the Paris nightmare. If that happened in one day the world would stop but because it’s the road, it doesn’t connect in people in the same way.
“A road accident is a violent way to lose your life - not to say the person set out to do it but fatals are a truly horrific scene,” said Mr Murray who listed speed, inattention and drink driving as main causation factors.
When it comes to drink drinking, he said: “The chances of getting caught are not insignificant, the result of getting caught could be significant. It’s everybody’s responsibility, right down to personal responsibility and that’s what stops it.
“I would urge the public to think twice if tempted. Think where it can end up for the victim and where it can end up for you and your family - the emotional and physical carnage.”