Hundreds arrested in drink-drive crackdown

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A total of 206 people were arrested by Merseyside Police on suspicion of drink and drug-driving during a month long summer campaign.

A total of 1,995 breath tests were conducted during a four-week crackdown over the summer to make the county’s roads safer.

Of the 206 people, 97 were arrested for drink-drive offences such as failing a breath test or refusing to give one, and 109 drivers tested positive for drugs such as cannabis or cocaine.

Of those arrested for drink drive offences 85 per cent were male and 15 per cent female with 67 per cent in the 25-49 age range.

For those stopped for drug driving offences 95 per cent were male and five per cent female and 70 per cent were in the 25-49 age range.

The majority of people were stopped between 11pm and 3am (42 per cent) with 29 per cent stopped on a Sunday.

All those arrested face a minimum 12-month driving ban and could be hit with a £5,000 fine by a magistrates court.

Insp Keith Kellett, from the force’s roads policing department said: “Hundreds of people are killed every year in this country because of drink and drug drivers.

“These incidents cause devastation to so many people yet could have been avoided if the motorist had chosen not to get behind the wheel while under the influence. Drink and drug driving is a serious offence with serious consequences and that is why we carry out targeted campaigns like this in order to take offenders off the road and send out a clear message to others.

“But I don’t want drivers to be complacent that they will no longer be caught because the summer campaign has finished.

“We will continue our efforts to educate the public and to highlight the risks of drink and drug driving and our enforcement activity will also continue throughout the year across Merseyside.

“The number of breath tests conducted this year was lower than last year as the campaign ran for four weeks and not the six weeks that it ran during last year’s Euro football championship.

“We also saw a corresponding drop in the number of arrests, which we hope means that more drivers are taking heed of our road safety messages.

“During this campaign, many drivers were issued with a free, disposable breathalyser to test themselves the morning after drinking. Only three per cent of drivers were arrested during the morning peak times so perhaps they proved useful in showing people how they can still be well over the limit after a night out.

“The vast majority we did stop, over 95%, passed the tests so we know it is only a minority of drivers who are behaving like this. We are also trying to ensure the next generation of drivers get the message.

“Anyone wanting to learn to drive can sign up to the Engage scheme and not only be taught how to pass the driving test but also learn about issues such as drink and drug driving, distractions such as mobile phone use and several other topics that the police believe are also critical in becoming a safe and responsible driver.

“Our focus will remain on removing all drink and drug drivers from the roads of Merseyside and my message to would-be offenders is that you can be stopped at any time by any police officer and be tested for alcohol or drugs.

“It only takes a matter of minutes for police to obtain a result and if you fail you will be arrested and taken to a police cell with the potential of a driving ban and a criminal record, which could cost you your job and affect not only you but your family.

“It really isn’t worth the risk of ruining your life and potentially the lives of others.

“If you know or suspect someone is driving whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs, then please contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”