Scottish public back more legal powers to combat drink driving

Emerging from the other side of a tough seasonal crackdown campaign by police on drink-driving, a new poll has shown that 75% of Scots would back even tougher measures.

The festive period saw 462 people detected in drink or drug driving,

An online survey of 1,073 Scottish adults was conducted between 14th and 17th December 2012 by respected independent analysts, YouGov.

Participants were asked: ‘‘Thinking about ways in which drink driving could be reduced… Would you support or oppose the Scottish government having additional legal powers to reduce drink driving?

The resulting response figures were statistically weighted and are representative of all Scottish adults (aged 18+). They showed:

  • 75%: I would support Scotland having additional legal powers.
  • 13%: I would neither support nor oppose Scotland having additional legal powers.
  • 8%: I would oppose Scotland having additional legal powers.
  • 4%: Don’t know.

The Scottish Government has previously called for the transfer of powers from the UK Government such as giving the police the ability to conduct breath testing anytime, anywhere to deter drivers. The UK government has recently transferred powers i this field to the Scottish Government and there is no practical reason why additional powers it would still like to have should not be devolved.

Given the political manoeuvering in the current context of the independence referendum, the claims and counter claims of new powers devolved or rejected need to be closely interrogated to see whether the are valid.

Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, says that the poll shows the Scottish public clearly support further action:

‘That is why we are already taking action to reduce the current limit using the powers recently transferred to us by the UK Government after years of lobbying. Scotland now plans to take action to reduce drink drive limits and bring us into line with other European countries, but we want to go even further.

‘Sadly, the UK Government ignored our pleas to transfer the additional powers necessary to give our police forces the tools they need to crack down on drink drivers, such as carrying out breath testing anytime, anywhere. The Scottish public have spoken and they have sent out a clear message to the UK Government that Scotland should be given the additional powers we need.

‘We want to move to a situation where people are left with no excuse as it is becoming increasingly clear that the only way to get through to drink drivers is a no-nonsense approach. The UK Government need to listen to the Scottish public, give us the additional drink drive powers we are asking for, so that we can show these drink drivers that their actions will not be tolerated.’

We can see no reason why the Scottish Government should not have the full diet of powers at its command to deal with drink and drug driving as it sees fit in the imperative to put an end to such life-threatening offences.

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