George Rilon from the Gloucestershire Special Constabulary remembers
George Rilon was the Police Commandant with the Gloucestershire Special Constabulary from 1960 – 1995. He joined the Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership at the launch of the winter anti-drink drive campaign which marked 50 years of driving drown drink drive crashes. George remembers his role in enforcement at a time when drink driving was common:
“When I started my job, I used to administer the breathaliser in the patrol car. I would ask when they last had a drink, and then we had to wait 20 minutes for them to blow in the bag. After a while the crystals changed colour and settled on a marker. In those days you were either under or over, with the technology now, it is down to the last milligram.
If anyone got caught drinking and driving the public was very sympathetic to the drink-driver and very anti- the police. Now I think that’s the other way around.
Everyone would drink and drive in the sixties. I remember being on A46 near Nailsworth and a car had skidded off in the ice. There was a queue of cars and everyone was desperately smoking cigarettes or eating peppermints trying to disguise the alcohol.
I think the education side is so much better in recent years, there was no drink-drive campaigning when I started. One thing people still don’t realise is if they have a drink the night before and get in a car the next morning they can still be over – that’s the hardest thing for people to understand.”