Cheshire Police is cracking down on those driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs as part of a week-long enforcement operation.
The Constabulary will be supporting the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) annual drink and drug drive operation, Op Limit, reminding drivers of the dangers and consequences of driving whilst impaired.
This week, 21 – 28 August, there will be an increased focus in officers out on the roads proactively engaging with the public during their patrols and ensuring that motorists are not driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including medicinal drugs.
Officers will use a range of tactics to catch drivers who selfishly choose to drink or take drugs and then get behind a wheel or get on a motorbike, putting themselves and other road users at risk.
Length of time alcohol and drugs stay in the system:
The limits set for each drug are different, and for illegal drugs the limits set are extremely low – but have been set at a level to rule out any accidental exposure (for example, through passive smoking).
If someone has taken drugs over the weekend and they think they feel fine, chances are high that they will still be over the limit and the drugs will still be in their system come Monday morning.
Officers can test for cannabis and cocaine at the roadside, and screen for other drugs – including ecstasy, LSD, ketamine and heroin at a police station. Even if you pass the roadside check, you may still be arrested if the police suspect that your driving is impaired by drugs and you can be taken to a police station for further tests.
Each person is different, and the way in which alcohol can affect someone depends on; weight, age, sex, metabolism, the type and amount of alcohol consumed, what they have eaten beforehand, any medication taken and even the person’s stress levels at the time.
The police can stop motorists at any time and may ask them to take a breath test, if the person refuses, or fails to supply a sample of breath and doesn’t have a ‘reasonable excuse’, they can be arrested.
The penalties for drink and drug driving:
Anyone convicted of drink or drug driving could face; a minimum of 12 month driving ban, a criminal record, an unlimited fine, up to 6 months in prison and an endorsement on your driving licence for up to 11 years. The maximum penalty for causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs is life in prison.
Further consequences of drink or drug drive conviction can include; job loss, loss of independence, the shame of having a criminal record, an increase in insurance costs and trouble getting into countries, like the USA.
Inspector for Cheshire Constabulary’s Roads and Crime Unit, Anton Sullivan, said:
“Keeping people safe on Cheshire’s roads is one of our top priorities and we will make no apology about the fact we are targeting drink and drug drivers who selfishly put not only their own lives, but innocent road users lives at risk.
“We are seeing a concerning rise in the number of people using a vehicle after taking drugs and it is worrying to see how many people do not realise how long alcohol and drugs stay in their system for. There is no excuse.
“There are also a lot of people who take legitimate prescription medicines, they need to make sure they are allowed to drive while taking those medicines and follow the safety advice given by a medical professional – otherwise they could also be liable for driving whilst impaired and face prosecution.
“I want to make it clear that there will be an increased officer presence proactively stopping vehicles and testing for drink and drug driving, and officers will take action if you are over the drink or drug driving limits. This time of year, there are a lot of people travelling to and from festivals and events, my advice – if you have been drinking alcohol or have taken drugs, find an alternative route that does not see you in charge of a vehicle. It’s not worth the risk.”
“Whilst we cannot be seen everywhere, we could be anywhere and even though our operation targeting drink and drug drivers may be taking place this week, we remain committed to tackling this issue all year round.”
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, John Dwyer, said:
“Making Cheshire’s Roads Safer is a key priority in my Police and Crime Plan and the Constabulary’s efforts during Op Limit show how seriously drink and drug driving is taken in our county.
“Driving under the influence of drink or drugs is an incredibly selfish act which can tear innocent families apart, and Cheshire is rightly a hostile environment for people who would think about doing it.
“We all have a responsibility to each other to make our roads as safe as they can be. I encourage everyone to avoid the risk of getting behind the wheel and to report such behaviour to the police.”
If anyone suspects a member of the public to be driving while impaired through alcohol or drugs report it to us via 101, always dial 999 in an emergency.