Drug driving offences reach record high in Merseyside during Christmas period
Driving offences involving drugs in Merseyside reached record figures during the December/Christmas period, with the latest statistics part of a 50 % annual increase in the number of local motorists being caught.
Figures from the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) show that 136 drivers in the region tested positive for drug driving during December 2017, compared to 89 during the same period in 2016.
The latest figure for December is part of 1248 drug driving arrests which were recorded in Merseyside during 2017, a 50 % increase on the previous figure of 801 offences in 2016.
Since the introduction of roadside drug testing in 2015 in Merseyside, 2,368 drivers have been arrested for drug driving, an average of 75 detections a month.
Overall since 2014, there has been a 400 per cent increase across the region in the number of drug drive detections.
Drink driving offences in Merseyside also increased during the December/ Christmas period, following a fall in the number of offences locally between 2014 -16. Latest NPCC figures show that 125 drivers were stopped during the Christmas period, compared to 111 for the same period in 2016.
There was also a 2.5 % fail rate for breath tests during December compared to 1.5 per cent in 2016.
In total 1200 drivers in the region were arrested in 2017 for drink driving.
Of those arrested for drink driving in December, 76 % were male, while 94 per cent of drug drivers arrested in the same period were male. The average age of those of drivers arrested was 30 years old for drug drivers and 38 years old for drink drivers.
The areas which saw which saw the most arrests for drink or drug driving were Knowsley/ Central Liverpool and Sefton, where 50 and 30 arrests were made respectively.
Rebecca Power, Co-Ordinator for Merseyside Road Safety Partnership, said: “The latest figures show that drug driving is clearly becoming a very serious problem in Merseyside, not only during the Christmas period but throughout the rest of the year.
“Motorists who drug drive are just as irresponsible as those driving under the influence of alcohol and they put lives at risk, including their own, in exactly the same way.
“As a Partnership it is important we take action to target this issue, particularly as many drivers may mistakenly believe they are less likely to be caught drug driving than drink driving. With the detection methods now available this is no longer the case.”
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: “The figures revealed by this crackdown over the Christmas period are deeply troubling.
“It is completely unacceptable to get behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs. Not only are these individuals putting themselves at risk, they are endangering the lives of other innocent road users. It is irresponsible, reckless and selfish.
“Drug drivers must take heed, roadside drug testing is being carried out and, be warned, Merseyside Police will take robust action against anyone caught. The sentence for drug driving, if it causes death or serious injury currently carries a sentence of up to 14 years in prison, but the anguish and heartbreak caused to the victims and their families can last a lifetime.”
Casualty Reduction Officer Paul Mountford from the Roads Policing Unit at Merseyside Police said: “It is disappointing that we have seen an increase in motorists arrested for drug and drink driving. While they represent a small minority of drivers, I cannot stress enough the danger that these people present, not just to themselves, but to other road users too.
“The consequences of being caught can be life-changing, we will remain vigilant throughout 2018 to find those drivers who present a risk to other road users.”
Liverpool’s Metro Mayor Cllr. Steve Rotheram said:
“These figures are worrying and bring into relief the serious issue of drug driving. It is incredible that anyone would even think about taking charge of a vehicle whilst under the influence of either drink or drugs.
“We need to demonstrate a zero-tolerance approach to such anti-social and criminal behaviour by continuing to ensure we detect and punish those responsible.”
Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service Station Manager Steve Pang said: “The latest figures are very concerning and show that drivers are taking massive risks which endanger both the lives of themselves and other road users.
“We fully support our partner agencies in taking a zero tolerance approach to both drug and drink driving.”
Merseyside Road Safety Partnership Christmas road safety video
Merseyside road users to get a virtual reality taste of traffic collisions during Road Safety Week
Road users in Merseyside will have the chance to see first-hand the emergency services response to a road traffic collision this week as part of National Road Safety Week.
As part of a behavioural change initiative in Williamson Square in Liverpool City Centre this Wednesday (22nd November), Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, a key member of Merseyside Road Safety Partnership, will give visitors a virtual reality experience of a road traffic collision to illustrate the dangers and behaviour that can lead to incidents on the road. Click here to view the full press release
Liverpool City Region Road Safety Strategy launched 12/10/2017.
Road safety chiefs on Merseyside have vowed to try and cut the number of deaths and serious injuries in the area’s roads by a third by 2020.
In a new strategy unveiled today (October 12) Merseyside Road Safety Partnership says it wants to see the number of deaths and injuries slashed to an all time low of 400 within the next three years.
Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy will join Merseyside Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Julie Cooke, Liverpool’s Metro Mayor Cllr Steve Rotheram, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority Vice Chair Councillor Les Byrom and Area Manager Guy Keen to launch the new strategy at Crosby Fire Station on Crosby Road North, Waterloo at 10am. Click here to read the full press release
To view the LCR Road Safety Strategy click here.
Penalties for Using Your Mobile Phone Double From Today
Motorists caught using their mobile phones while driving will face tougher punishments from today, Wednesday 1st March 2017.
Following the introduction of the new legislation, anyone who is caught driving while using the device will receive a £200 fine and six penalty points on their licence.
Drivers caught in Merseyside who are eligible will still be offered the option of a National What’s Driving Us? course.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “Our message is simple and clear: do not get distracted by your mobile phone while driving.
“It may seem innocent, but holding and using your phone at the wheel risks serious injury and even death to yourself and other road users.
“Doubling penalties will act as a strong deterrent to motorists tempted to pick up their phone while driving and will also mean repeat offenders could find themselves banned from our roads if they are caught twice.
“Everyone has a part to play in encouraging their family and friends not to use their phones while driving – it is as inexcusable as drink driving.”
Police forces across the country will be taking part in a week’s enforcement from 1 to 7 March.
This will see extra patrols and an increased focus on cracking down on people using their phones while driving.
About 3,600 drivers were handed penalties in the last co-ordinated enforcement week from 23 to 29 January this year.
As with the previous legislation motorists will still have the option to attend court to contest the offence.
But if the court rules against the defendant the penalty could be greater.
Can I use my phone when I’ve stopped at traffic lights?
No, you can’t use your phone when you’re driving or when you’re stopped at traffic lights or in queuing traffic.
You can only use your mobile phone at the wheel when you’re safely parked or when you need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop.
Camera Site Information
The latest fixed speed and red light camera site information is now available to download. This provides collision and casualty data for each site as well as average speeds and enforcement data for speed sites.