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Drink driving a serious problem in Mid-Ulster

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

DRINK Driving is a "serious problem" in Mid-Ulster that needs tackled, according to a local councillor.

Speaking as the Courier revealed over 800 drivers have been convicted for drink driving offences in Dungannon Magistrate's Court between 2011 and 2015, Sinn Fein Councillor Dominic Molloy advised people to think before they drink.

"The figures speak for themselves," said Dominic. "Drink driving is a serious problem that increases the risk of doing yourself serious damage and people need to ensure that when they go out they have plans in place for getting home without driving themselves."

In total 852 prosecutions for drink driving were brought before Dungannon Magistrate's Court between 2011 and 2015.

Of these 852 cases, 806 (94.6 per cent) resulted in conviction.

A monetary fine is the most frequent way for drink driving convictions to be punished with 666 (82.6 per cent) convictions listed as having this as the main form of disposal.

Drink driving onvictions that were dealt with by other forms of disposals are also likely to have included some form of fine.

Prison was deemed a suitable penalty in 57 (7.1 per cent) of the convictions, while 48 cases (5.9 per cent) were dealt with by way of suspended sentence.

A community service order was deemed the most appropriate sentence in 31 cases (3.8 per cent).

Reflecting on the punishment handed out for drink driving, Councillor Molloy called for tougher sentences.

"There should be stiffer penalties for those who cause death or serious injury while driving drunk, as well as for those who are seriously over the limit.

"Whilst I would never want to condone those driving while under the influence of alcohol there should be a clear distinction in the levels of punishment.

"There have been several incidents recently where people have caused death or serious injury and the sentences have not reflected that."

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