Friday, December 19, 2008

Lib Dem - Drink Driving

A leading councillor has urged others to avoid repeating his mistake and becoming a convicted drink driver.
Cllr Simon McDougall, who is a member of Bersted, Bognor, Arun and West Sussex councils, said he deeply embarrassed by the actions which caused him to break the law.

The Christmas and new year period sees Sussex Police increase their efforts to k
eep the roads safe from those who drive after they have consumed too much alcohol.

The combination of festive parties and relaxed moods can bring the temptation to have too many drinks.

Cllr McDougall said his experience showed that no-one should have doubts about the consequences of behaving like that.

"I would urge everyone out there to heed the warnings issued by the police and not to make the mistake I did," he stated.

"My mistake was common of so many. I had a couple of drinks on an empty stomach, thought I was okay to drive when clearly I was not.

"There is not a day goes by that I do not regret my actions, particularly with the extra strain put on my family by needing to drive me around and putting alternative child-care arrangements in place because I was not able to guarantee the reliability of public transport.

"I have not been able to earn a proper income during this period and, indeed, the stigma of having a criminal record will haunt me for the rest of my life.

"Like everyone else, I am a human being and made an error in judgment.

"The fact is, I did have a choice and I made the wrong one.

"I am deeply embarrassed by my actions and regret this lapse in my otherwise blemish-free record as a councillor."

He was arrested for drink driving on November 14, 2007, in Aldwick Road.

He failed a roadside breath test and a subsequent test at Chichester police station. A second specimen confirmed the result.

He was found to have 46mg of alcohol in a 100ml of breath compared to the legal limit of 35mg.

He appeared before Chichester magistrates on January 22 this year and was banned from driving for a year.

This was reduced to nine months on condition he attended an alcohol awareness course.

He fulfilled the obligation and completed his ban at midnight on October 21. He was also fined £300 by the magistrates.

"While my arrest was caused by a borderline reading, I have learnt my lesson and will not make the same mistake twice," pledged Cllr McDougall.

He immediately reported his conviction to the district and county council officers who are responsible for the conduct of councillors.

Cllr McDougall has continued to serve his residents.


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