Friday 03 February 2023

Police issued record number of fines to drink and drugs drivers

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Fines for people who drive a car while under the influence of drink and drugs shot up by 37.4 % in 2022, compared to the year before, police figures have shown.

Limburg, Gelderland and Zuid-Holland saw a record 46% rise in fines, including ones for refusing to submit to testing at all. In total 43,000 people were fined for drink or drugs offences while in charge of a vehicle – the figures do not distinguish between the two.

The surge is ‘a worrisome development but one we can’t explain’, a police spokesman told the Volkskrant. ‘Why people drink and drive is not for us to know, we simply conclude it happens and we will continue to clamp down on it,’ he said.

Critics have said one reason may be that large scale alcohol controls have been replaced by more random checks because drivers were warning each other via social media.

‘The large scale checks had a preventive effect,’ Rob Stomphorst of traffic safety organisation Veilig Verkeer Nederland told the paper. ‘People were getting the message that police were on the lookout for them. That would have made some take a taxi or driving home with a sober friend,’ he said.

Large checks

The police have admitted they are carrying out fewer large scale controls, except at big events, but point out that drunk drivers still run a big risk of getting caught, as shown by the high number of fines.

The one measure that might stop people who drink from driving is the alcohol lock, traffic safety research institute SWOV told the paper. The lock stops people who have been drinking from being able to start their car in the first place.

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