Shock over num­ber of sus­pected drug driv­ers

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - STU­ART GREER

THE men­ace of drug driv­ing on our roads has been ex­posed as it was re­vealed that nearly twice as many peo­ple were ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of be­ing be­hind the wheel while un­fit through drugs last month than drink driv­ing.

Po­lice say they stopped 46 sus­pected drug driv­ers dur­ing a crack­down in the bor­ough’s polic­ing area in June.

That was al­most dou­ble the 25 peo­ple held on sus­pi­cion of drink driv­ing.

The op­er­a­tion saw higher num­bers of peo­ple ar­rested for both drink AND drug driv­ing in Mac­cles­field than in any of the Cheshire’s forces other eight polic­ing ar­eas.

The fig­ures have shocked Mac­cles­field coun­cil­lor Bev­er­ley Doo­ley who is call­ing for tougher pun­ish­ments for drug driv­ers.

Coun Doo­ley, who rep­re­sents cen­tral ward, said: “When you take drugs and get into a car it is your choice, so penal­ties should be se­vere.

“Nine out of 10 times it is some­one else that suf­fers life-chang­ing in­juries in an ac­ci­dent rather than the per­son drug driv­ing.”

Since 2015 all road po­lice of­fi­cers have been equipped with both al­co­hol test­ing kits and drugs wipes, which in­stantly de­tect whether a driver is un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol or il­le­gal drugs.

Cheshire has one of the high­est ar­rests rates in the UK, with young men be­tween the ages of 21 and 30 mak­ing up the ma­jor­ity of the of­fend­ers.

Across the county, 131 peo­ple were ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of drug driv­ing and 121 were sus­pected of drink driv­ing.

It leaves up to 252 peo­ple fac­ing pos­si­ble driv­ing bans and fines.

The fig­ures com­pare to 141 ar­rests for drink driv­ing and 73 ar­rests for drug driv­ing in a sim­i­lar op­er­a­tion in June last year.

Su­per­in­ten­dent Martin Cle­worth, head of the Cheshire Po­lice Task Force, said the num­bers were ‘dis­ap­point­ing’.

He said: “The dan­gers of both drink and drug driv­ing are well known – it af­fects your re­ac­tion time, mak­ing it harder for you to judge your speed, judge your dis­tance be­tween you and other ve­hi­cles and no­tice 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.”

David Keane, Cheshire’s Po­lice and Crime Com­mis­sioner, said: “The con­se­quences of drink and drug driv­ing can be dev­as­tat­ing; they can cause a rip­ple ef­fect that can have shat­ter­ing ram­i­fi­ca­tions for not only the driver, but in­no­cent mem­bers of the pub­lic.” po­ten­tial

A road­side drug test­ing kit

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