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First paid-for drink drivers’ rehabilitation course 27 September 2007

CONVICTED drink drivers will pay to attend rehabilitation courses from this month.

The course is only open to those sentenced by the courts to undertake it, normally towards the end of any driving ban.

Chief Probation Officer David Sellick explained:

‘The Probation Service co-ordinates the course, which is presented by a qualified Drug and Alcohol Education Officer with input from the Road Policing Unit, the Fire and Rescue Service and the Ambulance Service. It’s usually held on a Saturday so that it doesn’t impact on most people’s work.
‘The course has capacity for around eight people at a time and is staged about four times a year although we are looking at increasing its regularity to meet the expected increase in demand. It covers subjects such as blood/alcohol concentrations, legal drink driving limits and the effect of alcohol on people. It also provides details of the realities and impact of a driving disqualification and the morning after effects.’

Research shows that of 56 convicted drink drivers who have attended the course since September 2005 nobody according to Probation Records has been convicted a second time for driving with excess alcohol.

The course provider Orla McGlinchey commented:

‘Most of the people attending the course come with fear and apprehension and are pleasantly surprised with the warm reception they receive. This approach creates the right atmosphere to create learning and to explore all aspects of drink driving. Help and support is part of the drink drive rehabilitation programme. All the participants have given a positive evaluation at the end of the programme.’

At its July sitting, Tynwald supported the principal of charging people £60 to cover the cost of the course.

Home Affairs Minister Martyn Quayle MHK commented:

‘I recognise that the proposal to charge drink drive offenders to undertake this course was controversial and did not receive unanimous support in Tynwald but the fact is that the £60 fee will offset the administration and delivery costs. It’s also worth noting that in the UK drink drivers pay around double that – up to £120 – for their version of the course. The Manx summary courts have indicated that rehabilitation courses are likely to be used more in future and with many demands on Government’s purse, a contribution towards the cost of providing these courses will be welcome.’

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