Merseyside Police launch 2018 Christmas drink drive campaign
On Saturday, 1 December, Merseyside Police launched its annual Christmas drink and drug driving campaign, aimed at reducing the number of road deaths and serious injuries on the roads of Merseyside and to raise awareness of the dangers around driving while over the limit or impaired through drugs.
For the month long campaign, which will run up until Tuesday, 1 January 2019, patrols will be stepped up across Merseyside and officers from the Roads Policing Unit 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.
During last year’s Christmas drink and drug driving campaign, officers carried out a total of 5026 breath tests in Merseyside with 261 drivers being arrested.
Inspector Keith Kellett, of Matrix Roads Policing, said: “It is incredibly important, not only at this time of year, but all year round that motorists seriously think about the consequences that drink or drug driving can have. We appreciate that, particularly during the festive season, people want to go out and enjoy an alcoholic drink however it must be reminded people who drive at twice the current legal alcohol level are at least 50 times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision.
“Drug impairment testing is now routine at the roadside in Merseyside and cannabis and cocaine are the two most common drugs used by drivers arrested in Merseyside. We have a very high detection rate in these cases of 98%.
“I also want to warn people about the risks of using medicinal drugs, particularly at this time of year with the advent of colder weather. Always read the instructions on the packaging carefully or speak to your GP or chemist. Taking certain medicines with alcohol can severely affect a person’s driving and if the label says “do not operate machinery”, that means do not drive.
“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. And help out your friends and family by not offering a drink to someone who is planning to drive.
“Drink and drug driving accounts for hundreds of lives lost every year in the UK. If you know or suspect that someone is drink or drug driving, do not hesitate in reporting them anonymously via Crimestoppers. Road safety is everyone’s responsibility and your actions could be saving lives at the festive period and throughout the year.
“We would 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.
“It should also be noted that 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. And since April 2015, drivers can no longer request a blood or urine specimen when their breath sample is less than 51 mgs/100 mls. Should they fail these tests the penalties can be severe
Avoid driving penalty heartache this World Cup
As the World Cup approaches, Liverpool Football Club’s Academy has teamed up with Knowsley Council’s Road Safety team and Merseyside Road Safety Partnership to highlight the dangers of driving the morning after drinking alcohol.
The campaign was launched with players from the Reds U18 side who took part in an interactive session aimed at highlighting the effect that alcohol can have on people’s reactions.
Many people will enjoy a few drinks as they watch the football and most wouldn’t even consider getting into their car and driving afterwards. However, there is a real risk that people who would never deliberately drink and drive may still be over the limit, or unfit to drive, the ‘morning after’.
This is because it takes a lot longer than most people think for alcohol to pass through the body. On average it takes around one hour per unit of alcohol, though this can vary depending on a number of factors.
Councillor Tony Brennan, Knowsley Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development said: “We know that many people will have a drink while watching the football and we want people to enjoy watching the World Cup.
“The aim of this campaign is to make people think about how much they are drinking if they are planning to drive the following morning as they may still be over the limit or unfit to drive.
“You could be driving to work or going shopping and still be over the limit. You could even be driving your children to school and still be unfit to drive. Could you live with yourself if something happened?
“We are encouraging drivers to be aware of how long alcohol stays in the system so they can enjoy the football without putting lives at risk on our roads the next day.”
Station Manager Steve Pang, Spokesperson for Merseyside Road Safety Partnership, said: “The decision to get behind the wheel of a vehicle the morning after drinking can have very serious consequences, not only for the driver but also potentially for other road users around them.
“We would encourage people to enjoy watching the tournament but to remember that your safety and the safety of others is vital. If you have been drinking the previous evening and are thinking about driving the next morning don’t take that risk.”
Paul Mountford, Merseyside Police Lead for drink and drug driving, said: “Merseyside Police will be conducting numerous roadside operations and breath and drug testing hundreds of drivers across Merseyside throughout this campaign to ensure that drivers understand the principles of this campaign – that the only safe drink drive limit is zero.
“Many drivers are unaware that even a small amount of alcohol may affect their driving ability, placing themselves at an increased risk of a crash and arrest. They may be arrested for ‘drink driving’ even if they pass a breathalyser if the officer considers them to be unfit. This is particularly relevant the following day when many will not consider their driving fitness after a night’s sleep.
“We are also reminding drivers that we will not tolerate those who take illegal drugs and drive. Similar to alcohol, driving while under the influence of illegal drugs can place the driver and other road users at risk. Our roadside tests aim to not only detect these drivers but also deter them from getting behind the wheel.”
Phil Roscoe, Head of Education and Welfare from Liverpool FC said: “The session with the Road Safety team was really interesting and helped to raise awareness of the effects that alcohol can have on your body, even the morning after having a drink.
“The message from the campaign is relevant at any time of the year, but it is particular important to in the run up to the World Cup to help people enjoy watching the tournament safely.”
The main message from the campaign is not ‘don’t drink’, but ‘don’t drink anything if you are driving’ and ‘don’t drink heavily if you have to drive the following morning’.
The Morning After Calculator
The ‘Morning After’ calculator helps you to add up the drinks you consumed the night before and gives you a rough calculation of when you may be safe to drive. Visit www.morning-after.org.uk for more information. You can also download the app to keep track of what you’re drinking while you are out.
Safer Roads Team tackle speeding issues on Formby By Pass
Staff from the Safer Roads Team at Merseyside Road Safety Partnership responded to local resident concerns about speeding vehicles both around and on the Formby By Pass with a special enforcement initiative in the area recently.
Focusing on one of the areas highlighted on the by pass at Moss Bank, the team found 93 vehicles speeding on the by-pass in one four hour period, with one car registered travelling at 99 mph. Among the vehicles seen speeding on the road were both cars and motorcycles.
The operation is one of a number that are currently being rolled out on Formby By Pass to try and cut the number of vehicles speeding on the road.
In a follow up initiative a few days later for example, 15 vehicles were registered speeding on the road during the first 15 minutes of the operation, with one vehicle registered at 82 mph.
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.