Drink driving down, but not recidivism

The Herald reports:

Drink-drive convictions have fallen by a third in five years but the percentage of repeat offenders has remained almost the same.

The Government is reviewing the penalties for drink-drive offences and campaigners say penalties need to be tougher on drunk drivers, including making ignition interlocks mandatory for recidivist drunk drivers.

In the past financial year, 18,000 people were convicted of being intoxicated behind the wheel, a drop of 35 per cent since the 2010/2011 financial year.

That’s a very significant drop. I assume the number of road checks remained constant.

The data, given to the Herald by the Automobile Association, also highlighted the continuing struggle to stop recidivist drink drivers. Nationwide, there was a fall of just 5 per cent over five years in the number of convictions for the third or more offence. In the past financial year, 4711 people were caught who had already been prosecuted three or more times.

If you’ve been caught three or more times, you have probably driven drunk at least 50 times. They have a serious problem and disregard for the law. The penalties for repeat offences need to be greater.

But more needed to be done to stop people who didn’t learn from the first or second time they offended, Mr Greally said, and he believes one of the answers is using interlocks more frequently. He called the devices, which prevent a drunk driver starting the vehicle, “game-changers”.

In the past two years, only 570 drink-drivers were sentenced to have interlock devices installed.

Maybe that should be automatic for the third offence?

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