Police in drink & drugs driving crackdown

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Drink driving campaign. Pic © West Midlands Police / Wikimedia / Creative Commons

Drink driving campaign. Pic © West Midlands Police / Wikimedia / Creative Commons

Merseyside Police have launched their annual drink and drug driving campaign in a bid to warn motorists of the potential risks to themselves and the public.

The campaign coincides with the 50th anniversary of the ‘THINK!’ public service films to make drivers aware of the consequences of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

The operation runs from 1st December to 1st January and officers will be monitoring hotspot areas from the early morning to the evenings in order to reduce the number of deaths and serious incidents on Merseyside roads, with more officers than ever policing the streets.

In 50years since the ‘THINK!’ drink driving campaign was started, the number of deaths per year has fallen from 1,640 to 230.

A spokesman for THINK! said: “By drinking and driving, you risk your life, those of your passengers and others on the road. Any amount of alcohol affects your ability to drive. You risk a fine of up to £5,000, a minimum 12-month driving ban and a criminal record.”

Sergeant Paul Mountford, of Merseyside Police roads policing unit, said: “The number of people driving under the influence of illegal or prescribed drugs is known to be increasing and what we’d like to see is that getting behind the wheel of a car after taking drugs is also socially unacceptable.

“Drugs do affect an individual’s driving ability and judgement in exactly the same way as alcohol and are a factor in around 25 per cent of all collisions. Therefore, as well as roadside breath tests, officers will be undertaking drug impairment tests.”

One in four of all deaths on our roads nationally involve drivers who are over the legal limit to drive and people who drive at twice the legal alcohol level are at least 50 times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision.

Sgt Mountford added: “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.”

The “THINK!” initiative has a new advert that will go on television throughout the country to warn people of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs over the festive period.

About Josh Kelsall, JMU Journalism