Road Safety News
 

Dorset Police to name and shame drink drivers

Tuesday 6th June 2017

Motorists caught drink driving by police in Dorset throughout the month of June will be named and shamed as part of a new campaign.

Launched on 1 June, the Dorset Police campaign will see anyone charged with a drink driving related offence have their name and court appearance details released to local media. Custody images of those convicted could also be issued.

The force’s annual summer campaign uses the hashtag #DontRiskIt and sets out to remind drivers that the consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can be ‘devastating’.

Throughout the month-long operation, officers will be requesting breath tests from all drivers involved in road traffic collisions, irrespective of whether or not they suspect an offence.

Drivers can also expect to be tested during routine stop checks, or if they are stopped for an offence. Field Impairment Tests (FITs) will be conducted on drivers suspected of being unfit to drive through drugs.

During 2016 in Dorset, 880 people were arrested for testing positive for alcohol or refusing to provide a breath test. A further 128 people were arrested for drug driving.

Police constable Heidi Moxam, Dorset Police’s casualty reduction officer, said: “With the weather continuing to get better, we’re at a time when drivers are more likely to risk drink or drug driving after socialising. I would ask those planning to go out for a few drinks to consider how you’re going to get home beforehand.

“Nationally, on average 3,000 people are killed or seriously injured each year in drink drive collisions.

“Too many people fail to consider the untold devastation that drink and drug driving can cause. Alcohol impairs many of the functions necessary for safe driving - reaction times go up and spatial awareness is significantly reduced. You don’t have to be drunk to be a drink driver.”


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Locally-driven operations underpin NPCC drink-drive campaign 
01 June 2017



 

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Charles

The research I was referring to was called IMMORTAL (Impaired Motorists Methods of Roadsaide Testing and for Licensing) which was funded by EC and DfT which TRL worked with the University of Glasgow on.

It was concerning the collision risk associated with different forms of driver impairment and it was a long time before then (36 month project commencing 2002)

Results showed 10% (not 1 in 7) of drivers stopped at random at the roadside who provided a saliva sample, tested positive for one or more illicit drugs (sample 1312). Results were published on the IMMORTAL site (immortal.or.at) in June 2005. The results were very interesting.
Jan James - Good Egg Safety

Agree (0) | Disagree (0)
0

Jan

I am afraid I have long dismissed the idea that the number of agrees/disagrees provides any indication regarding the road safety "worthiness" of any comment. We also have anonymous posters who keep repeating the same mantra and seem to be opposed or sceptical of most interventions.
Rod King, Warrington, Cheshire, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (1) | Disagree (1)
0

Perhaps the publicity surrounding the campaign had worked Guzzi. Would-be drink-drivers may have been deterred by the thought of random testing. Random testing - whether legal or not - may be more of a deterrent than we think.
Hugh Jones

Agree (1) | Disagree (6)
-5

Jan, you say you recall that a random police drug test in Scotland showed that 1 in 7 of the drivers were found positive for illegal drugs. Scottish data also shows that of the 8464 recorded casualty crashes in Scotland in 2015, only 65 involved a drug driver (1 in 130).

That appears to show that drug drivers are heavily underrepresented in the crash data, and that, actually, drug drivers are almost 20 times *less* likely to be involved in a serious crash than drug-free drivers. Or am I missing something or misunderstanding the stats?

Refs:
http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/15150514.Drug_driving_linked_to_hundreds_of_accidents_on_Scotland_s_roads/
https://www.transport.gov.scot/publication/key-reported-road-casualties-scotland-2015/3-reported-numbers-of-accidents-table-1/
Charles, England

Agree (4) | Disagree (1)
+3

Jan, from memory, the blanket campaign had a five fold increase in the number of drink/drive stop checks on the previous evidence based campaign. But there wasn't much difference in the number of fails between the two campaigns. Massive resources expended by the then chief constable but was it effective? I think not.
Guzzi, Newport

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+6

And what were the results of the campaign Guzzi? Evidence led is very important but even more so is an effective result post campaign...
Jan James

Agree (2) | Disagree (2)
0

Blanket testing is just that, blanket testing. For several years Gwent police did blanket testing with road side stops of all vehicles on certain roads at certain times. It was a widespread campaign for all vehicles who happened to be there at that time. Campaign led, not evidence led.
Guzzi, Newport

Agree (5) | Disagree (0)
+5

Covertly is fine (!) But illegally no. I uphold the road safety campaigns and the law in equal measure. So I repeat, if we as a country want random breath tests to be legal, then change the law to make it so. I have no problem with random breath test with the backing of the law.
James, Weston B, Herefordshire

Agree (7) | Disagree (1)
+6

If in due course it were to be reported that there had been a period showing a decrease in drink-driving collisions coinciding, let's say, following a period where there had also been increases in random breath tests and subsequent prosecutions - does it somehow not still count as proper collision reduction then? Do we only welcome road casualty reduction achieved by fair means, or only overtly and never covertly? A very odd stance for the road safety fraternity to take if I may say so.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (3) | Disagree (7)
-4

Ah James, thank you for clarifying that. There are several others who've clicked 'disagree' on pretty much all the comments so it would be interesting to hear from them too.

Having reread my last comment, I realise that the third para suggested drivers couldn't refuse and what I was referring to was refuse to being stopped.

It's not too difficult to 'have a reason' to test drink / drug offenders given the obvious clues which, if evident make it perfectly legit to then perform a test. I doubt police would want to waste their time testing if they didn't have suspicions - irrespective of the legal position - they don't have time.

Having said that, and not wishing to be unduly provocative, I recall a random police drug test in Scotland many years ago where 1 in 7 of the drivers ( all ages tested) were found positive for illegal drugs.

I can't recall the specifics but it showed the benefit of 'random' stops aligned with 'good reason' to progress tests where police suspected impairment.

In our work with the police for in-car safety, the number of incorrectly fitted seats identified in random stops are always far higher than the average.

With the decimation of road policing it's unlikely we could ever become a 'police state' but the findings show just how valuable their involvement is.

In certain parts of Australia, the police block main arterial roads with their drug and drink busting winnebagos and they catch a lot of offenders...
Jan James

Agree (2) | Disagree (6)
-4

Jan, since you ask, Hugh's 'nitpicking' and 'on our own terms' comments infer that we should turn a blind eye to an inconvenient truth about the current law which does restrain police authority from breath test anyone WITHOUT GOOD REASON. That's why I clicked the disagree button.

I have no problem with your first two points nor the first half of the sentence on your third point. And yes drivers can legally refuse a breath test if the police do not have a good reason to ask. "Please take this breath test as part of our blanket campaign" is not a reason that would stand up in court without a justification.
James, Weston B, Herefordshire

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+7

I agree with you Hugh and would be interested to hear more from those who anonymously 'disagree'. That's the easy part. WHY you disagree would be more helpful.

If you disagree that detection of drug driving isn't increasing exponentially then say it...we can qualify with police figures.

If you think younger offenders in particular ARE aware of the legislation (brought in over 2 years ago) then prove it. Our evidence suggests otherwise.

If you think that police shouldn't have the power to stop drivers (they do) and drivers should be able to refuse (they can't) then articulate why.

For the many families of drink/drug driving offences...this couldn't be a more important debate.
Jan James -Chief Executive, Good Egg Safety CIC

Agree (4) | Disagree (8)
-4

If the police require to the ability to legally random breath test then simple, change the law. But until then, catch as many drink drug drivers as possible within the current law, whether with many or few police.
James, Weston B, Herefordshire

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+9

....but on the other hand, quoting from the article, "Nationally, on average 3,000 people are killed or seriously injured each year in drink drive collisions". If we're concerned about this and if random breath testing reduces it, I don't think we shouldn nit-pick about civil liberties.

A regular shout on this forum is "we need more police patrols to uphold the driving laws!" - now it seems, that's qualified by a whispered "well..but on our own terms and within reason" - we can't have it both ways.
Hugh Jones,Cheshire

Agree (3) | Disagree (11)
-8

Jan and perhaps others, I think we are almost on the same page. If the “certain circumstances” don’t exist, i.e. if you have NOT been drinking or suspected of drink and drug offences, NOT committed a traffic offence, NOT been involved in an RTC, but just caught up and stopped as part of a widespread campaign that is carrying out blanket tests…then my previous comments apply. This is an essential limitation of police power, I would argue, that differentiates our UK law from a police state.

Road safety campaigns as well intentioned as they are must also respect our legal civil liberties.
Pat, Wales

Agree (9) | Disagree (2)
+7

This is an interesting and really important debate. According to the Gov UK website, the police ‘can stop a vehicle for any reason'.

They have the right to ask to see:
1. Driving licence
2. Insurance certificate
3. MOT certificate

They can also make a driver take a breath test ‘in certain circumstances’ if:
• They think you’ve been drinking
• You’ve committed a traffic offence
• You’ve been involved in an RTA

The critical point here is, if they suspect drink/drug driving (not too difficult if pupils are dilated/constricted/whites of eyes red/ smell of alcohol etc) they have the power to arrest and take the driver to the police station for further testing.

This is an essential power; not, I’d argue, the beginning of a police state.

The fact remains that people take the risk because they think they can get away with it. Fear of enforcement is a big disincentive. We need it. Equally importantly we urgently need to back this up with better education.

Few younger drivers are aware of the new drug drive legislation or what it means to them if caught. Not one of the 7000 plus students we have worked closely with in our Good Egg Driver programmes (goodeggdrivers.com) were aware of the legislative changes for drug driving which came out more than a year ago, nor could articulate what it would mean to them, if caught.

It took a brave family, who lost their beautiful 14 year old daughter Lillian Groves to a drug driver to generate enough media attention to force the long overdue (but much needed) Government changes in policy. Sadly, this change in law hasn’t been communicated to the primary target audience and the number of drug driving offences, in particular, are increasing exponentially.

Until some decent investment is made to actually educate drivers and bring about much needed behavioural change; police detection coupled with a zero tolerance mandate is all we’ve got.
Jan James -Chief Executive, Good Egg Safety CIC

Agree (10) | Disagree (12)
-2

You are right Pat that a police officer cannot make random testing but can in all circumstances of an RTA require a breath test. Also as said he can stop and talk to any driver and if an offence is detected, say a red light out or a light out on the rear number plate, he can again demand a breath test. Further if he suspects that a driver has consumed alcohol for whatever reason he can demand a breath test and if the driver refuses then he will be warned that if he fails to give a breath test he will be arrested. If he still refuses then he will be arrested and taken to the police station where subsequently he will be released or the procedure will be completed and he will be charged with offences. You can't win against the Breath Test Legislation.
g craven

Agree (7) | Disagree (1)
+6

If as part of an anti drink drug drive campaign, large numbers of cars are “routinely stopped” when not involved in a RTC or not suspected of an offence, this amounts to random or blanket testing. Police often then ask the driver to participate in a breath test. As I understand the law, the driver has the right to decline to take the breath test and the police do not have the power to insist without a valid reason.

It’s not a matter of “do it if you have nothing to hide”. I support the anti drink drug drive campaigns but fortunately we do not live in a police state. Important civil liberties like the right to decline the police request to participate, simply because you can, and without having to give a reason, need to be defended.
Pat, Wales

Agree (10) | Disagree (4)
+6

A police officer cannot do random checks merely for the purpose of giving a breathalyser test but can stop any vehicle he so wishes and ascertain the validity of its condition ie insurance, mot, tyres etc. and the identity of the driver. Whilst speaking to the driver he may then be in a position to ask for a breath test should he suspect that the driver had taken an alcoholic drink. The article clearly states this, that all drivers involved in an RTA will breathalysed. And some done for random checks or where there has been a road traffic violation.
g craven

Agree (7) | Disagree (4)
+3

I forgot to mention that Pat is correct.
David Weston, Corby

Agree (3) | Disagree (1)
+2

Pat,

A quick 5 minutes on the Google has come up with s.163 RTA (as expected) but with a bunch of prior case law tacked on the side to make a rather sparse piece of legislation into something that should be free of abuse.
David Weston, Corby

Agree (1) | Disagree (0)
+1

I must admit I thought the police could already do random road side breath tests anyway, without necessarily having any suspicions of drink driving.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (3) | Disagree (2)
+1

This sounds like a great campaign and I congratulate Dorset police on their initiative.
For far too long we have pandered to the rights of perpetrators rather than their victims.

I'm sure Dorset Police wouldn't be running this initiative without taking legal guidance first and it’s a very powerful disincentive for drivers to risk drink/drug driving.

I recall many years ago running a similar ‘zero tolerance’ on behalf of Cleveland Police where they randomly stopped drivers and the resultant reduction in offences was highly significant.

Maybe those figures for Cleveland, in comparison to their neighbouring police authorities, can be found to help demonstrate that this hard line works.

The only thing I'd add is to ask if they can access the new drug drive devices than resort to roadside FIT tests? Although both work, the former is quicker and easier to quantify.

Well done Dorset Police.
Jan James -Chief Executive, Good Egg Safety CIC

Agree (9) | Disagree (5)
+4

Expect to be tested during routine stop checks? By what authority? I didn't think blanket testing was legal without a valid reason. Is there anyone who can please clarify the law in this area?
Pat, Wales

Agree (8) | Disagree (3)
+5