Police use new media

Grampian Police is using social media to try to discover why so many young people drink and drive.

Figures from 2009-11 show that up to 60% of the drink drivers detected in the Grampian area are drivers aged 17-35. The force is trying to find out why so many of them take this risk and is using its Facebook and Twitter sites to canvass opinions from young people.

Leslie Harrold, road safety manager with Road Safety Grampian, said: “We are concerned about the high number of young people being caught drink driving. Most of this age group will have had road safety inputs from us while they were at school. These inputs would have highlighted the dangerous of drink driving and the penalties that drivers face.

“It is both surprising and disappointing that so many of them still choose to take this risk. If you have been drinking the last thing you should be thinking about is driving.

“We are using Facebook and Twitter to try to reach young people in a way that many of them communicate with each other already. It is a quick way to gain opinions from a wide range of local young people, who will be both drivers and passengers in vehicles.

“I hope that many young people will take the opportunity to give us feedback, as their opinions could play a key part in tackling this issue in the future.

“We hope to gain some useful feedback from the young people who will respond to the two questions we are asking them.

“The first question is, ‘Why do some young people choose to drink and drive?’ and the other is, ‘What would stop these young people from drinking and driving?’.

“If we get a better understanding of why they choose to take this risk than we can adapt our educational inputs to try to change their attitude to drink driving. In time, this hopefully will get young drivers to make the sensible choice and not drink and drive, therefore reducing the number of young drivers being caught drink driving.”