THE first batch of drink-drivers caught by police in North Yorkshire over the Christmas period have taken part in a course to educate them about the impact of their offences.

Over Christmas, a total of 118 arrests were made on suspicion of drink-driving during North Yorkshire Police’s Christmas Safety Campaign, and some have been ordered by the courts to undergo the Drink Impaired Drivers programme (DID).

The scheme, run by the York and North Yorkshire Probation Trust, is a 14-week programme which confronts offenders about their drinking and driving, forcing them to consider the effect of their offences on other people.

One of the nine offenders who has already undergone the programme was a man who was sentenced to a 12-month community order, 150 hours of unpaid work, and ordered to complete the DID programme.

He said: “I found the programme very informative and it has been a great help in understanding, not only the affects of alcohol on the body and in reaction time, but just how it can dramatically influence decision making.

“The course tutors were non-judgemental and thanks to them I am confident that I have an increased knowledge of the many aspects surrounding driving while over the legal limit. I am also confident that I will never find myself in that situation again.”

On average, 3,000 people are killed or seriously injured each year in drink-drive collisions – that’s one in six of all road deaths involving drivers who are over the legal alcohol limit.

Driving at twice the legal alcohol limit means offenders are at least 50 times more likely to cause a road crash than a driver who has not been drinking.

Dave Hall, from the Probation Trust, said: “During the programme we hammer home the consequences of drink-driving. The common misconception is that drink-driving only impacts on the person caught, but people need to understand that drink-driving is irresponsible, illegal and can wreck the lives of innocent people, including passengers, other road users and pedestrians.”

“The most powerful aspect of the programme is that offenders learn from each other. We have some offenders, who have been drink driving for years without giving it a second thought, who get to meet offenders where their drink-driving has had tragic outcomes.”