Fight to fix South Holland's drink-drive issue
South Holland’s acute drink-drive problem got even worse during lockdown - and experts say tough new measures might not be enough to cure it.
The district earned the unwanted moniker of being the nation’s ‘drink-drive capital’ after figures showed it suffered a higher rate of alcohol related traffic accidents than anywhere else in England.
A major report from a road safety charity says that a raft of new measures are now needed to fix the problem - including a lower breath test limit, more police resources and tougher sentences for offenders.
But experts in the county say simply getting tough won’t work - and that the underlying reasons that lead people to drink and drive have to be tackled.
John Siddle, of Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership, accepted that a lack of police resources is a factor here.
He said: “I think we would all agree that the reduction in policing levels has played a part in the increase of offences however, it cannot all be attributed to that.
“The availability of recreational drugs has increased tenfold and we’ve seen the closure of local public houses so people feel they are forced to drive.
“Although during lockdown all the pubs were closed yet there has been an increase in drink drive offences.”
There was some suggestion that drink-drivers stood out more when the roads were clearer during lockdown - and that police had good reason to stop more drivers due to Covid restrictions.
Mr Siddle added: “There are often other underlying issues with many of these drivers who need other interventions than prosecution to help them away from alcohol or drug dependency, we need to work on a path out of their current situation or they will simply reoffend.”