Highlands & Islands Regional MSP and Road Safety campaigner, David Stewart warns drivers ‘don’t spoil Christmas for yourself or anyone else by drinking and driving or by drug driving’
The consequences are stark: If you get caught you will get a minimum 12-month driving ban, a criminal record for a lengthy period or a substantial fine, and that’s before you start considering the significant social and employment consequences of your actions. Above all you are risking your own life and the lives of innocent road users and pedestrians.
Let’s face it :
- When you are standing at the scene of a road traffic collision you caused and in which someone is seriously injured or killed – It is too late!
- When you are sitting in the rear of a Police vehicle – It is too late!
- When you are sitting in a Police cell – It is too late
- When you appear in Court – It is too late
- And when you have lost your job – It is too late
Why risk it for the sake of a drink or drug?
I often get asked now what is the safe amount of alcohol you can drink and drive within the limit. The answer is one word ‘None’
In Scotland the legal drink drive limit is lower than any other part of the UK. Whilst driving in Scotland the drink drive limit for alcohol has been reduced from 80mg to 50mg in every 100ml of blood.
David Stewart said “ Drink and drug driving are not socially acceptable in today’s society. Clearly there are a hard core of drink and drug drivers that need to be educated as no form of campaigns or media coverage have addressed this issue. I have recently muted the proposal to make all convicted drink or drug drivers attend a mandatory Drink/Drive Rehabilitation Scheme (DDRS) which would enhance the work already being done in this field.
“The course combines presentations, group exercises, group discussions and videos used in conjunction with a course workbook with various exercises to complete and is all geared to educate the convicted driver as to the error of their ways.
“Let’s face it, if the convicted driver is not referred to such a scheme, where are they to be educated as to the danger they pose to other road users and what is to stop them continuing to drink/drug drive once their ban has been completed.”
The DDRS is an informal educational training workshop that provides participants with knowledge to reduce the likelihood they will be re-convicted of drink/drug driving again.
David Stewart said the incentive for the drink/drug driver is that if they complete the course they can not only get up to 25% off their driving ban, but also become more responsible and safer drivers in the process. Let’s face it we have to try something
Adding to the successes of Kirsty Ewen from Inverness, the Volunteer swimming coach who has trained young swimmers across the North, Highlands & Islands Regional MSP, David Stewart, has tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament congratulating her on winning the unsung hero award at last night’s Sports Personality of the Year Award. Kirsty has already won this year’s Volunteer of the Year at the Sport Scotland Coaching, Officiating and Volunteering Awards 2018.
David Stewart speaking today said ” Kirsty is an inspiration to us all. She has overcome mental health issues and helped so many others through her passion for swimming and coaching in this sport for over 12 years now. Last night she did the nation proud as she was awarded the Sports Personality Unsung Hero Award at Birmingham. What a role model, well done Kirsty. I felt the least I could do was recognise the passion, drive and determination of Kirsty by tabling a motion within the Scottish Parliament.
Motion Number: S5M-15168
Lodged By: David Stewart
Date Lodged: 17/12/2018
Title: Kirsty Ewen
That the Parliament Congratulates Kirsty Ewen, who is from Inverness, on being presented with the unsung hero award at 2018 Sports Personality of the Year Awards; recognises what it sees as the drive, determination and endeavour shown by Kirsty to overcome mental health issues by coaching swimmers across the Highlands for over 12 years; notes that she is also a member of the Sports Scotland Young People’s Sports Panel and was named Volunteer of the year at the 2018 Sports Scotland Coaching, Officiating and Volunteering Awards; acknowledges her drive and passion to help others through her volunteering and coaching; believes that Kirsty is an inspiration and role model, and wishes her the very best.
Health and Sport Committee
11 December 2018
David raises the issues of contingency and planning in the Committee’s examination of the UK Government Healthcare (International Arrangements) Bill.
Highlands & Islands (including Moray) Regional MSP and road safety campaigner, David Stewart has taken this opportunity to highlight the importance of tyre safety.
“Your vehicles tyres are the only part of the vehicle which actually touch the road surface. Acceleration, braking, steering and cornering all depend on your tyres and their contact with the road, that is how important they are,” said David Stewart.
“The law indicates that to be legal there must be a minimum of 1.6mm of tread across the central ¾ of the tyre and around the circumference.”
“Here is a tip for checking your tyre tread depth if you do not have a gauge. You take a 20pence piece and place it within the tread. If you can see the outer rim of the coin, then the tyre is approaching the legal limit and you should seriously consider replacing it,” he said.
“In winter, good tyre depth is as important as ever. I cannot emphasise this point enough. I ask Motorists to please check their vehicle tyres now and make sure they are legal. ”
“I have come up with the pneumonic ‘TREAD’ to highlight my message. If you have tyres with a good tread and grip you reduce you chance of losing traction, control and a collision.
R-reduces risks of
A-accidents and even
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman is being asked about the ‘shambolic’ system of registering community defibrillators after an MSP heard the concerns of a Highland campaign group.
Highlands and Islands Labour MSP David Stewart met with the volunteers from the Caithness Defibrillator Campaign Group who told him there was currently no legislation covering the registration, proper governance, maintenance and storage requirements for the life-saving equipment.
The group’s Chairman, Billy Mitchell explained: “When you buy a car it must be registered before you can drive it away and it must have regular checks to prove road worthiness as a legal requirement.
“But there is no legal requirement for an owner to register a vital life-saving device such as an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) or for any checks to be carried out. These devices may be used on members of the public and members of the public should be confident that they are registered and well maintained as they are a vital link in the chain of survival.”
Mr Stewart, who is also Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, said: “I was really impressed by the work of this keen community group and believe volunteers raised very valid points about how this equipment is registered and the need for changes to help save more lives, especially in remote and rural areas.
“I am more than happy to take up their points with the Health Secretary and the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) to see where we can go from here.”
Mr Stewart has also written to Stagecoach and Scotrail/Abellio asking if they would consider putting defibrillators on trains and buses, another issue raised by the campaign group.
The group, which launched this year with Caithness Heart Support Group and the Community Heartbeat Trust, set out to map all AEDs in the Caithness area and had completed roadshows highlighting the importance of registering defibrillators and the importance of regular checks being carried out.
Mr Stewart was told that the group discovered AEDs being placed outside in unsuitable cabinets, with no heater to keep the device at an appropriate temperature and full of dead flies and insects.
Key pieces such as the pads were out of date, there was no record of keeping checks and batteries had not been changed. Communities gifted an AED were sometimes given no guidance, help or advice on how to operate and run them.
The group also told Mr Stewart that when someone calls 999 and the ambulance establishes that it is a cardiac arrest, the service will not send someone for an AED if it is outwith a 150m radius of the incident.
“I have asked Pauline Howie, the Chief Executive of SAS, about this rule which does seem inappropriate for a rural area where there are sometimes long distances between emergency medical help,” said Mr Stewart.
Mr Mitchell added: “We would like to see AEDs on trains and buses on journeys to Inverness as they travel to out of the way places and some stations are unmanned.
“At the same time, we are also keen to encourage more signage directing the public to the nearest AED.
“In 2017 a Bill was presented to Parliament which would have made defibrillators compulsory in schools, leisure centres, sports centres and major public places, but due to the 2017 election the Defibrillator (Availability) Bill was tabled but never became law. The group is disappointed that this never became law. However, we hope to present evidence to the Public Petitions Committee.”
* Photo one David Stewart with Chairman Billy Mitchell
* Photo two Back row: volunteers Willie Marshall, Bob Bell and Kay Rosie
Front row: Chairman Billy Mitchell, David Stewart and Ron Gunn
David raises the issue of a “considerable jump” in consultancy fees.
Public Audit Committee , Scottish Parliament
6 December 2018
To read my speech click here
To read my speech click here