British bases police in Dhekelia made 14 arrests during two weeks in October for driving whilst under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI).
These statistics have led to increased police patrols in ‘hot-spot’ areas within the bases. Superintendent Panicos Panayi emphasised that this reckless behaviour will simply not be tolerated by the bases police.
He also revealed that those caught were aged between 20 and 25, a troubling statistic which suggests that despite the best efforts of authorities, young drivers are ignoring road safety advice.
“This is extremely serious and also very worrying. Driving whilst under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or both, simply cannot be tolerated,” he said.
“The SBA police have gone to great lengths to educate young drivers about the dangers of these actions and it would seem that the message is still not getting through to some.”
The penalty for DUIs are severe, with huge fines, driving bans and even prison sentences for some.
This is a message that Panayi was keen to hit home: “If you are caught, you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and you can expect no leniency. Driving in this state puts lives at risk and can destroy families and we cannot let that happen.”
DUIs are two of the most common reasons for deaths on the road and the other three, speeding, failure to wear a seatbelt and riding without a crash helmet, make up what police officers call the ‘Fatal 5’.
And tackling these areas of concern will always remain at the top of the police priority list according to Panayi.
“We have to continue to tackle breaches of the ‘Fatal 5’,” he said. “If people ignore these laws, then lives can be lost and it is absolutely preventable. Simply by fastening a seatbelt you can save a life, so why wouldn’t you do it?”