POLICE LAUNCH CHRISTMAS DRINK AND DRUG DRIVE CHRISTMAS OPERATION
Merseyside Police has today (Monday, 1 December) launched its Christmas drink and drug driving campaign.
Officers from the roads policing unit will be stepping up patrols throughout the month-long campaign, which runs until Thursday, 1 January 2015.
They will be paying particular attention to hotspot areas 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.
The aim of the campaign is to reduce the number of road deaths and serious injuries on the roads of Merseyside and to raise the awareness of the dangers around driving while over the prescribed limit or impaired through drugs.
Sergeant Paul Mountford, of Merseyside Police’s roads policing unit said: ”This year’s campaign coincides with the 50th anniversary of the first public information film about drink driving and new research from the Government’s THINK! Campaign, which shows how attitudes towards drink driving have changed
in the past 50 years.
“This is reflected in the fact that the numbers of people drink driving is falling and that it has become socially unacceptable to do so.
“However, 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.”
During last year’s Christmas drink and drug driving campaign, officers carried out 8,401breath tests. A total of 198 drivers failed the test. During the same period, 82 drug impairment tests were carried out, with 14 drivers failing.
“Nationally more than one in four of all deaths on our roads involve drivers who are over the legal limit. People who drive at twice the current legal alcohol level are at least 50 times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision.
“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 have more officers than ever this year who are trained to identify those drivers under the influence of drugs.”
Any driver involved in a road traffic collision, or who commits any traffic offence, can expect to be breathalysed and may be required to perform an impairment test. Should they fail these tests the penalties can be severe.
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