Police will randomly stop motorists in drink-drive checkpoint campaign

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd
Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd

Random breath tests are to be carried out as part of a new operation targeting drink drivers.

The PSNI said new powers enabled officers to set up checkpoints specifically aimed at catching drivers who are over the limit.

The operations to catch drink drivers would be run throughout the day and night in the weeks leading up to Christmas and into the new year.

Police will also co-ordinate road safety operations in border counties with colleagues from An Garda Siochana Traffic Corp.

Last year 375 people were caught driving while under the influence of alcohol – a rise on the 282 detained the previous year.

They ranged in age from 16 to 83-years-old, and included one individual who was so drunk they could barely stand up, and another motorist who was apprehended twice in two months.

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said: “This new legislation gives police another tool that will hopefully help us to prevent people taking life-threatening, unacceptable, simply stupid risks.

“Previously, police officers needed a reasonable suspicion about the manner of someone’s driving, have seen a moving traffic offence, or been called to a collision before requiring a preliminary breath test from a driver.

“The new legislation means we can now establish vehicle checkpoints solely for the purpose of carrying out random breath tests, something we hope will act as an even more visible, physical deterrent...

“If you find yourself asking the question, I wonder if I’m OK to drive? The answer is – you are not.”