Some UK police forces are using ‘intelligence markers’ to track vehicles which are being driven by convicted drink drivers to see if they are repeating their unlawful behaviour.
This data comes from Freedom of Information requests submitted to 44 police forces by Auto Express and show that not all forces are monitoring vehicles in this way, although some are using this electronic tagging tactic to track previously disqualified motorists.
How do they work?
These markers work through being detected by automatic number plate recognition cameras which alert police when a disqualified driver is on the move. One of the reasons behind this measure is that 12% of drink drivers have been found to go on to commit the same offence, and 30% of those caught with more than twice of the legal limit of alcohol in their system go on to drink drive again.
The Cheshire police force have the most marked cars with 1041 carrying active markers in total, whereas 2nd place Derbyshire only have 100 cars which have these trackers in place. Dorset police are tracking 92 cars, and Merseyside police attach markers once the driver has been convicted and/or disqualified.
Some police forces also said that they use these trackers to monitor people who have committed crimes other than drink driving too, with the Cleveland force stating that only 9.5% of the cars they have marked are convicted drink drivers.
Other police forces, such as Metropolitan and City of London, don’t use the markers at all but would do if there was credible intelligence which suggested that a convicted drink driver was using a vehicle despite being disqualified from driving.
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AA president Edmund King has said that the objective of police forces using these markers should be to stop people from reoffending. In 2015 there were 1370 people seriously injured or killed in drink driving incidents which was the highest level since 2012 according to the Department for Transport, with alcohol being blamed for 12% of all road deaths, which shows how important deterring people from driving under the influence is.
When an individual is caught drunk in charge of a vehicle they face 3 month’s imprisonment, a fine of up to £2500 and a possible driving ban, driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol can result in 6 month’s imprisonment, an unlimited fine, and a driving ban for a minimum of one year, and causing death by dangerous driving due to alcohol could come with a 14 year prison sentence, unlimited fine, and a 2 year driving ban.
Getting caught driving under the influence of alcohol can also cause individuals to lose their jobs, plus their car insurance will certainly increase, and these factors, in addition to fines and solicitors fees, could end up costing up to £50,000.
It is shocking that these possible punishments do not deter people from drink driving, but in addition to this they are risking their own life as well as the lives of others, which should certainly be enough to stay sober when they will be getting behind the wheel.
What can you do?
You can avoid getting yourself into a drink driving situation by always knowing how you are going to get home after you have been out drinking, and by sticking to soft drinks such as alcohol free beers or mocktails when it is your turn to drive.
For anyone concerned that they may buy a car which has one of these markers in place, it has been stated that processes are in place to ensure that forces know when a car has been sold to an innocent party due to links to the DVLA’s databases. However, this does not guarantee that they won’t be stopped, although you can be confident that you won’t be stopped repeatedly.