More checks needed to catch drink drivers around New Year’s eve, say experts

Police need to intensify checks for drink driving on New Year’s Eve, and more needs to be done to raise awareness of alcohol use by drivers, alcohol policy institute STAP has said.

‘The best way is still to police alcohol use but we also need to emphasise how harmful it is. The accidents over the Christmas period have made this painfully clear,’ STAP director Wim van Dalen told broadcaster NOS.

Van Dalen was referring to two serious accidents in the past week. In Oss a 14-year-old boy died in drink drive accident and in Rotterdam two adults and a seven year-old died in a head-on collision in which the other driver is thought to have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

On-the-spot checks work, Van Dalen said, but more are needed. In addition, police should specify if a driver used drugs or alcohol in accident reports, he said.

‘This would show that the large majority are still down to alcohol and we could make policy to reflect that,’ he told the broadcaster.

There are no exact figures about the role of alcohol in lethal accidents but traffic safety organisation SWOV estimates between 12% and 23% of fatalities are down to drink driving.

Police have issued more fines for drink driving this year and weekend incidences of drink driving have almost doubled in five years. In 2017 1.4% of drivers failed a breathalyser or other spot check, but that had gone up to 2.6% in 2022.

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