More than 140 arrested for failing drink or drug driving tests

Merseyside Police has arrested 143 motorists on suspicion of drink and drug driving just under half-way through the month-long national Christmas campaign.

Officers have so far arrested 52 people for drink driving and 91 people for drug driving.

At the same time last year, 140 people had been arrested for these offences.

Inspector Carl McNulty, head of the Roads Policing Unit, said, “It’s incredibly disappointing that year on year people continue to drive while under the influence of drink or drugs and endanger the lives of others with their thoughtless, reckless behaviour.

“Our officers will continue to be out on the roads across Merseyside throughout this month proactively targeting motorists to ensure they are not flouting the driving laws.

“With the Christmas celebrations nearly upon us I want to take the opportunity to remind people that we all have a responsibility to keep each other safe.

“Your driving will be impaired by alcohol and drugs, it’s as simple as that. I want to urge everyone to take on board our simple message this Christmas – avoid alcohol if you are driving, and if in doubt the morning after, do not drive. Don’t risk it.

“The consequences of being caught can be long-lasting and life-changing – for yourself and for those around you. Drink or drug driving shatters lives.”

Officers across Merseyside are vigilant in tackling drink and drug driving throughout the year, not just over the festive period.

During December officers will be continuing to conduct roadside tests morning, afternoon and evening.

Coordinator of the Merseyside Road Safety Partnership, Sarah English, added, “We’re particularly concerned about the number of ‘morning after’ drink-drivers that have been arrested.  It seems very likely that people over the limit at 8.30 in the morning – possibly on their way to work or dropping the kids to school – weren’t thinking of themselves as drink-driving. 

“We can’t stress enough, just because you’ve slept since you were drinking, it doesn’t mean the alcohol is out of your system, or that you’re safe to drive.  If in any doubt, don’t get behind the wheel. We don’t want to see people losing their lives, or their livelihoods, because they took a chance.”If you suspect someone you know is driving under the influence of drink or drugs, do the right thing and contact us @MerPolCC, 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

You can also follow our Roads Policing Unit @MerPolTraffic and the Merseyside Road Safety Partnership @Merseysidersp on Twitter for advice and updates @Merseysidersp.

Officers carrying out roadside breathalyser tests at Kingsway Tunnel on 17 December, 2020

Drink Driving Facts

Being in charge of a vehicle while above the legal limit or unfit through drink

You may get:

  • Three months’ imprisonment
  • up to £2,500 fine
  • a possible driving ban

Driving or attempting to drive while above the legal limit or unfit through drink

You may get:

  • Six months’ imprisonment
  • an unlimited fine
  • a driving ban for at least a year (three years if convicted twice in 10 years)

Refusing to provide a specimen of breath, blood or urine for analysis

You may get:

  • Six months’ imprisonment
  • an unlimited fine
  • a ban from driving for at least a year

Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink

You may get:

  • 14 years’ imprisonment
  • an unlimited fine
  • a ban from driving for at least two years
  • an extended driving test before your licence is returned

You won’t automatically get your licence back if you’re a high risk offender.

Other problems you could face

A conviction for drink-driving also means:

  • your car insurance costs will increase significantly
  • if you drive for work, your employer will see your conviction on your licence
  • you may have trouble travelling to countries like the USA

Drug Driving Facts

You can be disqualified from driving for at least a year if you’re found guilty of drug driving. Depending on your offence, you can also be fined or sent to prison. You must apply for a new licence before you can drive again.

It’s illegal to drive if either:

  • you’re unfit to do so because you’re on legal or illegal drugs
  • you have certain levels of illegal drugs in your blood (even if they have not affected your driving)

Legal drugs are prescription or over-the-counter medicines. If you’re taking them and not sure if you should drive, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or healthcare professional.

The police can stop you and make you do a ‘field impairment assessment’ if they think you’re on drugs. This is a series of tests, for example asking you to walk in a straight line. They can also use a roadside drug kit to screen for cannabis and cocaine.

If they think you’re unfit to drive because of taking drugs, you’ll be arrested and will have to take a blood or urine test at a police station. You could be charged with a crime if the test shows you’ve taken drugs.

Prescription medicines

It’s illegal in England, Scotland and Wales to drive with legal drugs in your body if it impairs your driving.

It’s an offence to drive if you have over the specified limits of certain drugs in your blood and you have not been prescribed them.

Talk to your doctor about whether you should drive if you’ve been prescribed any of the following drugs:

  • amphetamine, for example dexamphetamine or selegiline
  • clonazepam
  • diazepam
  • flunitrazepam
  • lorazepam
  • methadone
  • morphine or opiate and opioid-based drugs, for example codeine, tramadol or fentanyl
  • oxazepam
  • temazepam

You can drive after taking these drugs if:

  • you’ve been prescribed them and followed advice on how to take them by a healthcare professional
  • they are not causing you to be unfit to drive even if you’re above the specified limits

You could be prosecuted if you drive with certain levels of these drugs in your body and you have not been prescribed them.

Penalties for drug driving

If you’re convicted of drug driving you’ll get:

  • a minimum one year driving ban
  • an unlimited fine
  • up to six months in prison
  • a criminal record

Your driving licence will also show you’ve been convicted for drug driving. This will last for 11 years.

The penalty for causing death by dangerous driving under the influence of drugs is a prison sentence of up to 14 years.

Other problems you could face

A conviction for drug driving also means:

  • your car insurance costs will increase significantly
  • if you drive for work, your employer will see your conviction on your licence
  • you may have trouble travelling to countries like the USA

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