THE year has not started well for 227 drivers in Cheshire and Warrington who have been arrested for drink or drug driving during a police crackdown.
From 1 December to 1 January, 140 people were arrested for drink driving, with a further 87 arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of illegal drugs. All of those 237 people arrested are now likely to face lengthy driving bans and large fines.
David Keane, police and crime commissioner for Cheshire, said: “I am disappointed to see that some motorists on Cheshire’s roads have not followed warnings issued by Cheshire police to not drive whilst under the influence of drugs or alcohol. People know the dangers of drink and drug driving, yet we’ve still seen drivers put their own lives and the lives of other road users and pedestrians in danger over the Christmas period.
“Cheshire police are continuing to work hard to tackle this behaviour and I’d like to thank all the emergency services who worked hard over the festive season to keep our roads safe.”
All roads policing officers across Cheshire are equipped with both alcohol testing kits and drugs wipes which can instantly detect whether a driver is under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs whilst behind the wheel. There were 1,230 breath tests carried out, resulting in 140 arrests, and 123 drug tests leading to 87 arrests.
Superintendent Jo Marshall-Bell, of Cheshire’s road policing unit, said: “There has been a slight increase in arrests over last year and it is astounding to see how many people continue to believe it is acceptable to drive under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.
“Over the campaign period we took a much more focused, intelligence-led, approach, targeting the ‘who, when, where’, which has been borne out in the results.
“Driving under the influence of either alcohol or drugs is extremely dangerous; it affects your reaction time, making it harder for you to judge your speed, judge your distance between you and other vehicles and notice potential hazards. All of this means that you are more likely to be involved in a collision.
All of those arrested as part of this operation will now have to face the consequences of their actions, which will have a significant impact on both their personal and professional lives.
Superintendent Marshall-Bell added: “The consequences of drink and drug driving can be devastating, not only for the driver of the vehicle but their families and innocent members of the public. We are committed to reducing the number of alcohol and drug related deaths on our roads, and my officers will use all of the tools available to them to help us achieve our goal.
“I also want to reassure residents that, although this operation has concluded, it is an issue that we continue to target seven days a week, 365 days a year. The message is clear, if you drive whilst under the influence of drink or drugs in Cheshire, you will be caught.”