Merseyside Police have launched their annual Christmas drink and drug driving campaign, reminding motorists that drink or drug driving shatters lives.
Officers from the Roads Policing Unit and colleagues across the force will be stepping up patrols throughout the month-long campaign, which began on December 1 and runs until Friday, January 1 2021.
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, but motorists can expect to see officers policing the roads at any time of the day or night.
The campaign, which also runs nationally, aims to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on the roads and raise the awareness of the dangers around driving while over the drink drive limit or impaired through illegal or certain prescription drugs.
During last year’s Christmas campaign 117 arrests were made for drink driving and 150 arrests for drug driving.
Figures released on January 15, 2020, revealed Merseyside Police was the first force in England, Wales and Scotland to record more than 2,000 drug drive arrests in a calendar year.
The force recorded a total of 2,201 arrests in 2019, which is an increase of 19% from 1,630 in 2018. Of those arrests 1,105 were for the use of cannabis, 653 for use of cocaine, 213 for both cannabis and cocaine, and a small number for people who took other drugs or failed to provide a specimen.
Drug-driving figures have continued to increase locally and nationally following a change in legislation in March 2015, which makes it easier for the police to catch and convict drug drivers. In 2014, just nine people were arrested per month compared to 168 per month in 2019.
It is now an offence to drive with certain drugs above a specified level in your blood - just as it is with drink driving. Seventeen legal and illegal drugs are covered by the law including cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy and ketamine. The limits for all illegal drugs are extremely low – taking even a very small amount of an illegal drug could put you over the limit.
Last year, also saw an 8% increase in drink driving arrests recorded in Merseyside in 2019, with 1,383 arrests compared to 1,278 in 2018.
Statistics show that motorists who drive at twice the current legal alcohol level are at least 50 times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision.