Sussex drink-drive campaign tests 1,500 drivers

More than 1,500 breath tests have been carried out and 59 people arrested in the first 10 days of a summer drink-drive campaign in Sussex.

Two of the arrests followed collisions involving injuries and nine more in other collisions, Sussex Police said.

Nine people were arrested on suspicion of driving or attempting to drive while unfit through drink or drugs.

“We have removed these people who are a risk to themselves and other road users,” said Chief Insp Di Roskilly.

“However, despite all of the publicity and messages about the danger of drinking or taking drugs and driving, some people are selfishly still choosing to drink and drive.

“Our message to these few is very clear – the odds are you will get caught.”

Drinks firm Diageo funds pregnancy health initiative

Drinks company Diageo is to pay for 10,000 midwives in England and Wales to be trained to offer advice on the dangers of alcohol during pregnancy.

The Department of Health hopes the training initiative will in turn help more than one million expectant mothers over three years.

It is part of government moves to bring the private sector into public health.

The British Medical Association has expressed concern about the drinks industry funding such a scheme.

Government guidance is for pregnant women to avoid drinking alcohol, but if they do to drink only one to two units, once or twice a week.

The Department of Health said the UK Infant Feeding Survey 2005 suggested that 34% of women gave up drinking while they were pregnant, 61% drank less and 4% did not change their drinking pattern.

Public Health Minister Anne Milton said: “Midwives are one of the most trusted sources of information and advice for pregnant women. This pledge is a great example of how business can work with NHS staff to provide women with valuable information.

“This will help over a million women over the next three years to make an informed decision about drinking during their pregnancy. It will potentially improve their health and also give their baby the best start in life.”

Police warn motorists of drink-driving consequences

A Lancashire police officer whose job is to break the news to relatives when a loved one has been killed on the roads, is appealing to drivers not to drink and drive.

Family liasion officer Pc Sam Markland says using a different form of transport to get to work is important for anyone who has been drinking the night before.

“Get to work some other way, and that way you won’t wreck your life, and you won’t wreck somebody else’s,” he said.

“Drink-driving causes utter devastation.”

For the last four years Pc Markland has been one of the officers who visits homes on a daily basis to deliver bad news.

He is often the first person to contact the families of victims.

Range of emotions
“The first thing I will do is to go to the scene of the accident,” he said. “In some cases I can be one of the first officers there.”

He says this aspect is important as the family always want to know what happened.

“Unless you’ve got that information first-hand, you can’t give them the answers. I will only tell the families what I know to be a fact.”

Pc Markland has seen a range of emotions while doing his job from “total devastation and shock and raw emotion, to wanting revenge and anger”.

He added: “Every single situation if different, but they all have the same devastating consequences for the family.

“None of these road deaths were expected. They were sudden, huge shocks.”

Pc Markland said the reality of fatal collisions is often worse than the most intense television dramatisations.

“Reality is normally far more punchy, that’s something families find very hard to accept.

“Until you’ve seen it and you’ve felt it, that one stupid decision to drive your car – I can only say to you don’t do it.”

Lancashire Police’s summer drink drive campaign is running throughout the month of June.

In 2010 there were 46 fatal collisions in Lancashire, with eight involving drink or drugs.

Drink driving GP Donald Clegg ‘was sleep walking’

A doctor from Greater Manchester has been banned from driving after he admitted to drink driving while he was asleep.

GP Donald Clegg, 59, was involved in a crash in Bury New Road in Prestwich in December. He was found behind the wheel in his dressing gown and slippers.

Bury Magistrates’ Court heard that the sleepwalking meant Clegg, of Prestwich, was not conscious of his actions.

But the bench banned him from driving for 12 months.

He had admitted driving with excess alcohol and without due care and attention but only because of his state of “parasomnia”.

‘Special reasons’
Clegg was almost four times over the limit when he got out of bed and into his car on 8 December.

He drove for a mile while still “asleep” before crashing into parked cars. He was talking incoherently about driving to his mother’s house when bystanders snapped the car key in the ignition to stop him driving away again, the court heard.

The GP claimed the first he knew of the incident was when he woke up in a police cell.

The prosecution did not dispute Clegg was sleepwalking.

Clegg’s lawyer asked the court to use “special reasons” to suspend any driving ban – normally automatic for drink-driving.

A breath test showed he had 127 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35 microgrammes.

Such a reading normally attracts a driving ban for about three years and possibly a short jail term.

But magistrates banned him for a year, fined him £650 and ordered he should pay £300 in costs and the £15 victim surcharge.

Next founder George Davies convicted of drink-driving

The founder of fashion chain Next and George at Asda has been convicted of drink driving.

George Davies, 69, denied the offence and told Worcester magistrates he had drunk Drambuie with a migraine tablet on his driveway just before his arrest.

Davies, from near Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, was also found guilty of failing to stop for police.

He was fined £1,000, given a one-year driving ban and ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge and £965 in costs.

Dozens of Leicestershire drink drivers arrested

Sixty four people have been arrested on suspicion of drink driving in the first four weeks of a Leicestershire Police campaign.

The Sober and Motoring (SAM) campaign began on 1 June and saw 13 people arrested in its first weekend.

Insp Vivienne Brenchley warned people to stay within the alcohol limits if they were considering driving.

Anyone caught drink driving faces a 12-month ban and up to six months in prison.