During the Christmas period, drink driving tends to become more prevalent and consequently police forces ramp up their efforts to clamp down on offenders. This year in Scotland, police are taking a hard-line stance by seizing the vehicles of first-time drink drivers.
Motorists who are stopped by the police under suspicion of drink driving and refuse to take a breath test could also have their cars taken from them.
The car forfeiture scheme was initially introduced in Scotland by the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (Acpos) during the Christmas period 2009. The scheme targeted drink drivers who were repeat offenders.
In 2010, the scheme extended to drug drivers and this year even those who commit a first drink-driving offence, if they are three times over the drink-drive limit, may have their car seized.
Once seized, the car becomes the property of the Court and can be sold or destroyed. Drivers may also be subject to a fine of up to £5,000 and they will have a criminal record. They will lose their licence and may even face a prison sentence.
In the two years it has been running, the scheme has seen 702 repeat offenders caught and 155 vehicles seized. A further 18 vehicles were seized pending a Court decision.
Chief Constable Justine Curran, Acpos vice-president, said: "The monetary value of a car may be of little consequence but the loss to the driver in terms of going about their daily business will be extremely high.
"I would emphasise to anyone who is considering taking such a risk that they are also deciding to accept the consequences of criminal record and a substantial fine."
It is estimated that more than one in seven deaths on Scottish roads are caused by drink drivers.
Do you think car forfeiture is an extreme measure or do you think it is a good deterrent and that the scheme should be enforced across the UK? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.
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