Reforming the System: Instant Disqualification for Drink and Drug-Drivers

Reforming the System: Instant Disqualification for Drink and Drug-Drivers

Recent discussions among police chiefs have highlighted the need for new powers to allow officers to instantly disqualify drink or drug-drivers at the side of the road. This move is seen as necessary to take drivers who pose a risk to others off the road “immediately”. Currently, drivers charged with drug or drink-driving offences are only banned following a sentencing hearing at a magistrates’ court. The delays in reaching the court result in allowing these offenders to potentially continue driving until their hearing.

Under the current system, drivers suspected of being under the influence are subjected to a road-side test, followed by a confirmatory test at a police station if the first test is positive. Force chiefs are now considering the implementation of tests that would enable officers to ban individuals on the spot. Additionally, they are exploring the necessary legal adjustments required to make this process feasible.

In addition to advocating for immediate roadside disqualifications, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) is pushing for tougher punishments for drivers who cause fatalities while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Chief Constable Jo Shiner emphasized the need for greater sentencing and more severe penalties for individuals who endanger others on the road due to their impaired driving. Ms. Shiner believes that the conscious decision to drive while under the influence requires stricter sentencing measures to deter such behavior.

The proposed instant disqualification system has garnered support from individuals like Ceinwen Briddon, who has been actively campaigning for harsher sentences for fatal drivers. Briddon’s advocacy was fueled by the tragic loss of her 21-year-old daughter, Miriam, in a collision caused by a drunk driver. The driver, Gareth Entwhistle, served a reduced jail term and was banned from driving for five years. Briddon’s relentless efforts led to a change in the law, allowing those guilty of causing death by dangerous driving to face life imprisonment.

Ceinwen Briddon challenges society to consider the emotional and psychological impact on victims’ families in cases where individuals are killed due to impaired driving. She questions how offenders would feel if they were responsible for taking a life and emphasizes the need for stronger consequences for such actions. Briddon’s powerful message urges policymakers to prioritize the well-being of innocent victims affected by preventable tragedies caused by drink and drug-drivers.

The proposal for immediate disqualification of drink and drug-drivers represents a crucial step towards enhancing road safety and accountability. By implementing stricter measures and reevaluating the sentencing guidelines for such offenses, authorities can send a clear message that endangering lives through impaired driving will not be tolerated. It is essential for legislative bodies to heed the calls of law enforcement officials and victims’ advocates in order to create a safer environment for all road users.


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