Police launch festive crackdown on drink and drug driving

MERSEYSIDE Police has launched its annual Christmas drink and drug driving campaign, urging motorists to have ‘None For The Road.’

Officers from the Roads Policing Unit and colleagues across the force will be stepping up patrols throughout the month-long campaign, which runs until Sunday, January 1.

They will be paying particular attention to areas across Merseyside in the evenings and early in the morning, to target those who are risking driving the morning after drinking or taking drugs the night before.

During last year’s Christmas drink and drug driving campaign, officers carried out a total of 7,925 breath tests in Merseyside.

A total of 224 (3%) of all drivers failed the test and were arrested. During the same period, drug impairment and drug tests were carried out, with 66 drivers being arrested.

Sergeant Paul Mountford, of Merseyside Police’s roads policing unit, said: “The numbers of people drink driving on our roads are falling because it has become socially unacceptable.

“We were encouraged last year to see 97% of the people we tested were driving responsibly. Anyone considering taking stupid risks needs to remember that people who drive at twice the current legal alcohol level are at least 50 times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision.

“During last year’s campaign, it was disappointing to see a slight increase in motorists drug driving. Therefore, as well as roadside breath tests, our officers will again be undertaking drug impairment tests. Drug testing is now routine at the roadside in Merseyside and cannabis and cocaine are the two most common drugs used by drivers arrested in Merseyside. We have a very high detection rate in these cases of 98%.

“I also want to warn people about the risks of using medicinal drugs. Always read the instructions on the packaging carefully or speak to your GP or chemist. Taking certain medicines with alcohol can severely affect a person’s driving and if the label says ‘do not operate machinery’ that means do not drive.

“Our message to drivers is not to drink or take drugs and then drive, just simply pre-plan your evenings out, use public transport or have a designated non-drinking driver.

“We are all entitled to use the roads safely, be it driving, walking, or cycling.

“ If you know or suspect that someone is drink or drug driving, do not hesitate in reporting them anonymously via Crimestoppers. Road safety is everyone’s responsibility and your actions could be saving lives at the festive period and throughout the year.”