Merseyside police continue campaign to stop those who drink then drive

St Helens Star: Don't drink and drive is the safest bet. Don't drink and drive is the safest bet.

MOTORISTS are being warned that they could be over the limit if they drive the day after a heavy drinking session.

Police says that those who take to the wheel before the alcohol has passed through their system could be in for an early morning shock as drink drivers are being targeted in a Christmas campaign..

The campaign message is to leave the car keys at home, designate a non-drinking driver otherwise take a taxi or public transport.

Parties and celebrations during the festive period traditionally result in an increased number of people prepared to drive after drinking alcohol or taking drugs.

Officers will be targeting motorists who over indulge then drive at night, and also carrying out morning checks to eke out those still over the legal limit.

Chief Inspector John Hogan said: "Every year people are affected by the consequences of drink and drug driving.

"Nationally 280 people were killed in drink drive incidents last year, an increase of 17 per cent from 2011, which is particularly alarming. “What often goes unseen is the effect that a drink or drug drive conviction has on an individual – putting aside a possible prison sentence, drivers also face a criminal record, potential job and income loss as well as impact upon families and relationships."Merseyside Police is acknowledged as one of the most proactive forces in detecting drug impaired drivers and warn that prescription medication may also affect a person’s driving if instructions are not adhered to. Slower reactions, poor judgment of speed and distance and reduced co-ordination and concentration can be caused by taking drugs and drinking alcohol.

"This Christmas, Merseyside Police officers will be more visible that ever, conducting many thousands of breath tests and impairment tests,” said Ch Insp Hogan.

"We want people to enjoy the festive period for the right reasons. A drink or drug drive conviction can be life changing – not just for the driver but their families.”

In December 2012 Merseyside Police arrested 114 people for drink driving and so far this year have arrested 1,201 drivers for the same offence. Last December five people were arrested for driving under the influence of drugs and so far this year 88 people have been arrested for driving after taking drugs.

Maximum penalties for driving or attempting to drive while over the limit, or refusing to produce a specimen’ are at least 12 months disqualification, a fine of up to £5,000 and six months imprisonment.

Anyone who causes death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs faces up to 14 years imprisonment, an unlimited fine and at least two years disqualification.

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