New figures released by the Merseyside Road Safety Partnership show that since the start of the government-imposed ‘lockdown’ on 23rd March 2020 (5 weeks), 250 drivers have been arrested for drink and drug driving in Merseyside. That figure was 350 for the same period last year.
The lockdown has meant that pubs and clubs were closed and people were restricted to essential journeys only when using their cars. However, 90 drivers have been arrested for drink driving and a further 160 for drug driving.
Clear message to individuals
Paul Mountford, Casualty Reduction Officer for Merseyside Road Safety Partnership, said “ The whole idea of the restrictions on vehicle journeys is to reduce the risk of an incident on the roads that would lead to people having to attend hospital and add to the workload of the NHS. So it’s particularly alarming that these individuals, have chosen to drive after consuming alcohol or drugs, placing themselves and others at great risk.
“We know that sales of alcohol have risen during the lockdown period and that many people may be spending longer periods at home. Combined with the spell of fine weather, it’s all too easy to drink more heavily than normal. However, people need to remember the rules about drinking and driving. Even small amounts of alcohol may affect a person’s ability to drive and measures are usually larger at home than they would be if bought in a pub. Alcohol may remain in the body for several hours and may still be present the following day.
“Last year, over 2,000 drivers were arrested for drug driving. Merseyside Police is one of the top performing police forces in the country at detecting those drivers who drive after taking drugs and we will continue to be pro-active during lockdown in order to keep people safe on our roads and protect the NHS. There are strict limits placed on commonly used drugs such as cannabis and cocaine and police can test at the roadside. We know that a tiny minority of people do take drugs illegally – and we want to send a clear message to those individuals: do not take drugs and drive.”
Police enforcement continues on the roads during lockdown and safety camera vans are being deployed on the roads to keep speeds down. The #TakeExtraCare campaign is being championed by police forces and road safety partnerships across the country to remind road users to be extra vigilant on the roads in order to reduce any extra burden to the NHS
How to report an incident
You can report incidents of drink or drug driving to the Merseyside Police Contact Centre on Twitter @MerPolCC or via Facebook. You can also report it anonymously to Crimestoppers (0800 555 111) . If you need to report an incident of dangerous driving and have dashcam footage or images, you can submit it via the reporting tool on Merseyside Police’s website.