Increase in number of drink-drive arrests

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Merseyside Police can confirm there has been an increase in the number of arrests over the Christmas period.

Our drink drug drive campaign ‘What’s The Cost?’ saw a 29% increase in arrests for drink driving offences from the previous year’s campaign.

The number of drivers testing positive for drug drive offences has increased by 48%, due to increased testing and police powers which came into force in 2015.

During the campaign, which ran from 1 December 2017 until 1 January 2018, officers carried out a total of 5026 breath tests and arrested 261 people for drink or drug driving-related offences, which compares to a total of 203 arrests in the 2016 campaign.

The total number of drink drive arrests made this year was 125, with an increase from 111 in 2016. The total number of drug drive arrests was 136, an increase from 92 in 2016.

This is the third Christmas drink and drug drive campaign since legislation was introduced in March 2015 to make it easier for police to tackle drug drivers.

The law made it illegal to drive with certain drugs above specified blood levels in the body whether driving is impaired or not. These limits are set at very low levels for eight illegal drugs, including cannabis and cocaine, and eight medicinal drugs that have been set at a higher limit.

Merseyside Police have been using roadside testing kits to trace drugs in drivers. If the test result is positive, the driver may be arrested without the need for the officer to prove that the driver was impaired and a blood or urine sample is taken.

During the campaign, officers have also been handing out single-use breathalysers to drivers and encouraging hotels to stock them in their receptions, to encourage people to test themselves and consider the potential consequences of driving the morning after a night of drinking. 13% of drink driving arrests during the campaign occurred between the hours of 6am and 12noon.

A further breakdown of the figures show there was a 2.5% fail rate for breath tests compared to 1.5% in 2016.

In terms of gender and age 76% of ‘drink drivers’ are male with 94% of ‘drug drivers’ being male, 58% of which are aged between 17-30 years, with the average age of ‘drink drivers’ at 38 years of age and the average age of ‘drug drivers’ at 30 years of age.

Casualty Reduction Officer Paul Mountford, from the Roads Policing Unit said: “It is disappointing that we have seen an increase in motorists arrested for drug and drink driving.

“While they represent a small minority of drivers, I cannot stress enough the danger that these people present, not just to themselves, but to other road users too.

“The current drug driving legislation makes the process of prosecuting drug drivers much simpler and our rates of prosecution are high.

“Our message to those drivers would be don’t risk it. The consequences of being caught can be life-changing. We will remain vigilant throughout 2018 to find those drivers who present a risk to other road users.

“We are committed to tackling drink and drug driving throughout the year, not just during the Christmas period. Any driver involved in a road traffic collision, or who commits a traffic offence, can expect to be breathalysed at any time in the year, and may be required to perform an impairment test.”