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 has 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.
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 were 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.
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Is it right Police should be monitoring drivers like this? Should there be restrictions in place? Let us know your thoughts in the comments
What a good idea and I thank this site for making me aware of it. Why is this preventative measure not compulsory across the country?
Because a lot of police forces are soft on drink and drug driving. Roadside spot checks used to be effective but the combination of “civilrighters” and resource has pretty much put paid to that.
Of course it’s not right to track cars! As ever, it’s a PR blunder to sound good to the modern media. Someone has muddled up individuals and possessions.
Firstly it’s not right because it’s probably an offence under privacy laws but, secondly and mostly, because they will be tracking innocent persons in the shape of anyone else who may drive that car, whether a spouse or offspring of the offender or another named driver. It’s classic modern police action, “justified” by saying that they are tracking an offender. We have far too much of this intrusion into our lives without the police turning this country into an imitation of the police states of both extreme right (pre-war Germany) and left (USSR) and their likes.
If offenders are to be tracked, it should be by way of court-approved tracking devices attached to the offenders: not their cars!
A disqualified driver if caught driving should have his/ her disqualification time doubled every time caught but then does it make any difference, no because they will do it again so what do you do jail time for the period of the disqualification do it again double the time in nick. we have so many laws that most don’t get enforced anyway. Do they tag ex sex offenders
Why the focus on sex offenders? Remember after completing any sentence you are an EX offender NOT an offender. Do not start banging the sex offender drum just because the hysteria whipped up by the media has conditioned you to do so. A sex offender can be anything from someone who has stolen a womans laundry off a line/pinched a girls bottom in a pub to a murderer. Don’t generalise, all offences are serious.
Someone convicted of drink driving for a second time will use their licence for 3 years.
Check out sentencing guidelines.
A good idea but its an infringement of civil liberties and very open to abuse by our ‘oh so trustworthy non evidence revealing police forces’……
It’s a great idea provided it extends to drug drivers too as I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a drug driver and a drunk driver when I had been killed by one ! I would be just as dead !
A brilliant idea in my eyes, but I’m sure somewhere along the way some p.c. Idiot will scream and shout about civil liberties….. it’s not like the police are stopping people driving just monitoring the situation.
Where’s the proof that they are just ‘monitoring’.
Tag the person NOT the car as someone else might drive it. Besides, it should be plainly obvious to a tracking sytem that if the ‘tag’ on a person is moving faster than walking pace it can trigger an ‘alarm’.
Only been in existence for at least 8 years.!! Not just markers on drink drivers cars but whole cross section of criminal behaviour. Also used for vulnerable missing persons who have access to vehicles and has saved many lives.ie suicidal person in car enroute to suicide hot spot, intercepted by police following anpr hit.
Scum will easily get over this, they put their mates onto their insurance and let them borrow the car. Whilst the police are chasing the car, scum has borrowed his mates and is driving around, having a good time. For every good idea, the feckless will always find a way of skirting it.
I am against drink driving in a big way but feel that I must question the actions of the Police. I think that if you have been punished for a crime that should be the end of it. I can’t help wondering weather this a breach of human rites and freedom, as it is illegal to follow and track people without good reason.
I also think that a second offence for drink driving should result in a life time ban internationally as you have breached the rite to drive!
Mark, I used to be “that guy”. As an ex drink driver I can tell you punishment is no deterrent, nor is any kind of ban. What is needed is to change the way you think. My last conviction, nearly seven years ago, nearly landed me in prison (3 convictions within 10 years) but I was offered a 13 week intensive drink driving course as an alternative.
To be honest I thought the whole thing was going to be a waste of my time and public money but not so. It was education and the change in the way I was thinking that was the key to the change in behavior.
Perhaps not so relevant in drink driving but there is evidence to suggest a whole raft of offences and crimes are committed to satisfy risk taking impulses in our highly ordered society.
In short, publicising offences and crimes by the media actually has the result of encouraging more of the same.
Today, I’ll be a pedant.
Rights and rites are very different and thankfully most of us don’t need involvement in the occult to go about our daily activities.
The tracking part was interesting though. The answer is the police have a duty to protect the public and knowingly allowing someone to drink drive is not upholding that duty.
The norm these days is that police duties override the rights of men and women which is frankly a ludicrous situation because what are the police there for then?