RURAL communities see a lot of people taking more chances when it comes to drink driving, according to Enniskillen-based Chief Inspector Clive Beatty.
The Chief Inspector said he felt it was ‘tradition in most rural areas that those who want to go out socially tend to have their car parked at the back of the pub, the keys in their pocket and take a chance at the end of the night.
After a three week intensive police campaign on drink driving on the roads of Fermanagh the Chief Inspector admitted that a lot of people outside the main towns would take more chances.
He also highlighted that it would be middle aged motorists, rather than young drivers who would take the chance after a couple of drinks.
“It’s recognised in December that there are a lot more social events and people will want to go out and enjoy themselves. “Because of that they can let their guard down and are taking more risks.
“In particular about driving home from venues, thinking if they have just had one or two drinks they are OK.
“But more importantly, those who do leave the car behind take their quota of alcohol as they believe they are capable of consuming, but then they have to get up for work the next morning at eight or nine o’clock, not realising that they may feel refreshed, but their body still hasn’t processed the alcohol, which means they are still likely to be over the limit,” he stressed.
He went on, “Personally I believe, because Fermanagh is such a rural community there a lot of people outside the main towns would take more chances than those in the town.
He pointed out that anecdotal evidence showed that there are a lot of drivers being stopped who are just under the limit and in the recent spate of stops ‘quite a few people have been over the limit and been arrested’.
That worries the Chief Inspector who says, “those who are just under can’t tell whether they’re over or under unless they’re absolutely paralytic. It’s that false sense of security and we want to send a very firm message that if you have been drinking the night before you should not be driving the morning after,” he said.
Chief Inspector Beatty said, “Younger people tend to go out for a really big night, or not at all.
“The middle bracket of age tend to go out for more social, or a couple of drinks and take the chance, but nobody knows for sure how many drinks are their limit. That’s the message we have to get across,” he said finally.