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Officers have wasted no time in making an impact during this year’s Christmas drink and drug driving campaign by convicting a man on the first day of its launch.
Op Limit is now underway and officers from the Matrix Roads Policing Unit and colleagues across the force will be stepping up patrols throughout the month-long campaign, which runs until Monday 2nd January 2023.
This campaign coincides with Operation Shepherd, which is Merseyside Police's annual campaign to reduce crime and keep communities safe during the festive season.
During Op Limit, officers will be paying particular attention to Merseyside motorists in the evenings and early in the morning. This will ensure they target those who risk driving under the influence not only in the evening but also the following day when alcohol and drugs can remain in the system.
Op Limit, which also runs nationally and was previously known in Merseyside as Operation Nemesis, aims to prevent unnecessary deaths and serious injuries on the roads and to raise awareness of the dangers around driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
On the launch day of Op Limit on November 21, a man was arrested on Lordens Road, in Huyton, on suspicion of drink driving. Mark Derbyshire, 44, of Lugsdale Road, Widnes, was charged and appeared in court the following day where he was given a four year driving ban and a £300 fine.
The early action as part of Op Limit didn’t end there, as the Roads Policing Unit conducted a drink drive operation on Tuesday 29th November to coincide with the World Cup clash between England and Wales.
During this operation, around 50 vehicles were stopped and approximately a third of these drivers had alcohol in their system.
Three people were arrested on suspicion of drink driving.
In total, we have already made more than 134 drink and drug drive arrests since the launch of Op Limit and will continue to target offenders for the remainder of the campaign.
More than one in four of all deaths on the road involve drivers who are over the legal limit and people who drive at twice the current legal alcohol level are at least 50 times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision.
Figures show that the number of people found to be driving whilst under the influence of drugs and alcohol increases during this time of year.
Inspector Stuart McIver from our Matrix Roads Policing Unit said: "In the festive season it can be tempting to think one more drink won’t hurt as people get swept up by the party mood, but that one extra drink could have devastating consequences.
“We don't want police officers knocking on doors over the festive period to deliver the worst news imaginable to the loved ones of someone killed or seriously injured by such reckless and selfish behaviour.
“We want anyone tempted to get behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs to think about how their dangerous actions could impact on an innocent family.
“If you do drive under the influence of drink, drugs, or both, you are putting your own safety at risk, the safety of everyone in your vehicle, and the safety of every other road user you come across on your journey.
"Drinking or taking drugs and then driving should never be mixed. Instead, leave your car keys at home, take a taxi, use a designated non-drinking driver, public transport or stay overnight. Think of the consequences before drink or drug driving – a crash or conviction can shatter many lives including your own.
"We are also urging people to look after each other this festive season - if your friend, colleague or relation is unfit to drive be that person who takes a stand. Don't let them get behind the wheel.”
Inspector McIver also wants to highlight the dangers of driving the morning after having alcohol or drugs.
He added: “It’s always particularly sad when somebody who would never have dreamed of having a drink and then getting in their car and driving is either arrested or injures somebody the morning after, because they’re actually still over the limit.
"We’ve had incidents of parents who have inadvertently drunk-driven their children to school because they didn’t realise the alcohol would stay in their system that long. We don’t want any of that this Christmas. If you’re drinking at night, please, think about the morning after.
"The way alcohol affects you depends on: your weight, age, sex and metabolism, the type and amount of alcohol you’re drinking, what you’ve eaten recently and your stress levels at the time.
“Our officers tackle drink and drug driving every day of the year, but Op Limit serves to highlight the dangers and consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and reminds the public that this criminal behaviour is deeply irresponsible and dangerous.”
If you have information about anyone who is driving whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs, please contact @MerPolCC, 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Always call 999 if a crime is in progress.