Think it through, warns Chairman

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20 Jan 2012

The Chairman of Cheshire Police Authority has warned young people who drink and drive, "Think about the long-term effect on your own life!"

Margaret Ollerenshaw says,

Even if you avoid injuring yourself and other people, the results of a drink-driving conviction will stay with you for years.

She was speaking in the wake of figures for the Cheshire Police area over the Christmas and New Year holiday which showed 26 per cent of drivers arrested for drink and drug driving were aged under 25 and 39 per cent were under 30 years old.

With many years experience as a magistrate and my contact with policing in my present role, I have had a close-up view of the consequences of drink driving.

If the possibility of causing death or injury to other people and to yourself isn′t enough to stop you, you should consider the effects a drink-drive conviction would have on your life.

As well as a probable fine of hundreds of pounds, you will face a huge increase in your car insurance costs when the time comes to get back on the road.

In the meantime, you face a mandatory driving ban of at least 12 months. You may be banned for considerably longer. If your job involves driving or if you have to use a car to get to work, that obviously puts your employment in jeopardy. Even if you keep your job, your social and private life will suffer because you will not be able to see friends and relatives as easily. If you have children you will not be able to drive them to school. Everyday chores such as shopping will suddenly become a lot more difficult.

These are the type of lifestyle changes which put real strains on personal relationships.

The situation can be even more serious. If you are substantially over the alcohol limit when you are arrested you will probably be looking at a three-year driving ban and a fine of between a thousand and five thousand pounds. The magistrates may consider a community order with a curfew. You may even go to prison for up to six months.

There are still worse scenarios. If your drink, or drug, impaired driving caused a collision which results in someone′s death the maximum penalty is a fourteen year prison sentence.

The drink-drive figures over the Christmas and New Year period seem to indicate that while most people understand that drink and drugs don′t mix with driving, some younger drivers are just not getting the message. That is a disappointing trend.

If everyone gives the consequences some serious thought the picture should change drastically.

- Margaret Ollerenshaw, Chairman of Cheshire Police Authority
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