The Sovereign Base Area Police in Dhekelia have confirmed that 14 arrests were made in as many days in October for driving whilst under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
These statistics have led to increased police patrols in ‘hot-spot’ areas within the SBAs and according to Superintendent Panicos Panayi, this reckless behaviour will simply not be tolerated by the SBA Police.
He also revealed that those caught were aged between 20 and 25, a troubling statistic that suggests despite the best efforts of authorities, young drivers are ignoring the advice they have been given.
He said: “This is extremely serious and also very worrying. Driving whilst under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or both, simply cannot be tolerated.
“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 driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is severe, with huge fines, driving bans and even prison sentences for some.
This is a message that Superintendent 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.”
Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol 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 Superintendent 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?
“The police are committed to protecting our community and that is why police patrols will continue and offenders will be caught and prosecuted.”