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Drink and drug driving arrests soar by almost fifty per cent this summer

The number of people arrested for drink and drug driving in Merseyside this summer rose by 47 per cent compared to last year. During a crackdown to make the county’s roads safer, Merseyside Police arrested 283 motorists in June and July compared to 192 last summer. Of the 283 people, 164 were arrested for drink drive offences such as failing a breath test or refusing to give one, and 119 drivers tested positive for drugs such as cannabis or cocaine. For those breathalysed, 3.5 per cent failed and were arrested. For those tested for drugs, 36 per cent failed and were taken into custody (an increase of nine per cent compared to 2015 when 27 per cent failed the drugs test). Four out of five drink drivers were men and nine out of ten drug drivers were also male. For both offences, the majority of drivers arrested were aged between 25 and 49 years of age who were caught driving between 9pm and 3am, most often at weekends. All those arrested face a minimum 12 month driving ban and could be hit with a £5,000 fine by a magistrates court. Chief Inspector Tony Jones from the force’s roads policing department said: “Hundreds of people are killed every year in this country because of drink and drug drivers. These incidents cause devastation to so many people yet could have been avoided if the motorist had chosen not to get behind the wheel while under the influence. Drink and drug driving is a serious offence with serious consequences and that is why we carry out targeted campaigns like this in order to take offenders off the road and send out a clear message to others. “We have caught more people drink and drug driving this summer than last so it is positive that these people will no longer be able to put lives at risk while they are banned. However there is clearly a need for campaigns such as this one. We will continue our efforts to educate the public and to highlight the risks. Our enforcement activity will also continue throughout the year across Merseyside. “During this campaign, many drivers were issued with a free, disposable breathalyser to test themselves the morning after drinking. Only three per cent of drivers were arrested during the morning peak times so perhaps they proved useful in showing people how they can still be well over the limit after a night out. “The vast majority we did stop, passed the tests (96.5 per cent) so we know it is only a minority of drivers who are behaving like this. We are also trying to ensure the next generation of drivers get the message. Anyone wanting to learn to drive can sign up to the Engage scheme and not only be taught how to pass the driving test but also learn about issues such as drink and drug driving, distractions such as mobile phone use and several other topics that the police believe are also critical in becoming a safe and responsible driver. “Our focus will remain on removing all drink and drug drivers from the roads of Merseyside and my message to would-be offenders is that you can be stopped at any time by any police officer and be tested for alcohol or drugs. It only takes a matter of minutes for police to obtain a result and if you fail you will be arrested and taken to a police cell with the potential of a driving ban and a criminal record, which could cost you your job and affect not only you but your family. “It really isn’t worth the risk of ruining your life and potentially the lives of others.”

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