Dad's dismay at young drink drivers

A FATHER who lost two daughters to the actions of a young drink driver says many youngsters simply do not care about getting behind the wheel while over the limit.

A FATHER who lost two daughters to the actions of a young drink driver says many youngsters simply do not care about getting behind the wheel while over the limit.

His comments came after new figures revealed that one in eight young motorists tested in a Suffolk-wide anti-drink and drug driving campaign were over the legal alcohol limit.

Suffolk police revealed on Monday that of the 711 tests carried out in June as part of its summer campaign, 199 were conducted on those aged 25 years old or under - and of those 24 (12 per cent) were positive.

Overall, the enforcement campaign saw a slight rise year-on-year with 8.6 per cent of motorists with excess alcohol in their system compared to 8.4 per cent in June 2009.

Phil Stoddart, from Lowestoft, whose two teenage daughters, 18-year-old Claire and 15-year-old Jenny, were among five people killed in a car crash on the A12, near Blythburgh in July 2006, said the problem was young people have no fear over the consequences of their actions.

Ben Morphey, of Yoxford, was 22 years old when he was sentenced in June 2007 to eight-and-a-half years in prison for five counts of causing death by careless driving while unfit due to drink. His sentence was later reduced by two years.

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Mr Stoddart said: 'It seems that young people are unaware of the consequences that driving under the influence of alcohol can have.

'They may be taught about it in school, but as far as I am concerned they simply don't care - they are fearless and don't care about the outcome.

'Drink-driving has a life-changing consequence and the consequences for us as a family will never be over. Suddenly everything can change and to me losing them both is like having a disability.'

Claire's friend Carla Took, 18, from Oulton, also died in the crash, along with Simon Bonner, 40, and 41-year-old Kim Abbott, who were travelling in the other car involved in the head-on collision.

Suffolk police's month-long enforcement campaign began on June 1 and saw officers across the county conduct 711 breath tests. Of those 61 (8.6 per cent) were positive.

Insp Des Pooley, of Suffolk police's traffic unit, said there was concern over the percentage of young people caught drink or drug-driving, and work was being done to look at the reasons behind it.

He said: 'It's a worrying statistic. It's hard to tell exactly what the reasons are. We will be looking at it seriously and ways we can get the message across.'

In June 2009 919 breath tests were carried out, of which 77 (8.4 per cent) were positive.

Chief Insp Adrian Dawson added: 'Those offending need to realise that they not just putting themselves at risk but other innocent road users as well. This is a very serious issue and can have severe consequences.'

Anyone who suspects someone of drink driving is asked to report them immediately to the police or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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