Merseyside Police have underlined their commitment to tackle drink-driving as new figures show the number of people killed in booze-related crashes on Britain’s roads has reached an eight-year high.

And they stress the only safe drink-drive limit is zero.

Department for Transport national data shows there were between 230 and 270 fatalities in accidents where at least one driver or rider was over the alcohol limit in 2017.

Wirral Globe:

Across the Northwest for the same period there were 20 fatalities and 140 serious injury accidents were alcohol played a part.

The central estimate of 250 deaths is the most since 2009.

It represents an increase of 20 compared with 2016, although the DfT described this rise as “not statistically significant”.

The total number of people injured or killed in drink-drive crashes was 8,600 in 2017, down from 9,040 during the previous year.

Publication of the figures comes after recent research by road safety charity Brake found that more than 5,000 motorists have been caught drink-driving on two or more occasions in the past four years.

Paul Mountford from the Merseyside Road Safety Partnership told the Wirral Globe: "We remain committed to tackling all drink-driving offences and our most recent summer campaign resulted on 119 arrests for drink-driving offences, as well as a further 126 for drug-driving.

“Although Merseyside Police is on course to see a reduction in collisions involving drink-drivers - from 298 in 2018 to 92 to date in 2019 - one incident is too many and we are committed as part of the Road Safety Partnership to continue raising awareness, collecting information and dealing with offenders.

“We will continue to stop drivers be it in the morning, afternoon or evening and carry out breath tests.

"My message is simple – if you choose to drink, do not take the car.

"The risks are enormous and simply not worth it. There is no room for guesswork: the only safe drink-drive limit is zero.

“Also, if you take drugs along with drinking alcohol it massively increases the effects on your body, making it even more dangerous to get behind the wheel.

"I would urge anyone thinking of taking such risks to stop and have a serious think about the consequences."

Mr Mountford added: "I’d like to remind drivers your ability to drive can be affected by even a modest amount of alcohol.

"Even if you are below the legal limit, alcohol still affects your judgement, placing you, your passengers and other road users at risk.

"You may be arrested for ‘drink-driving’ even if you pass a breathalyser if the officer considers you to be unfit."

If you know or suspect someone is driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, contact @MerPolCC, 101, the Roads Policing Unit on 0151 777 5747 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Brake’s director of campaigns Joshua Harris said the increase is drink-drive deaths is “incredibly concerning.”

He went on: “How much longer must this continue before the Government acts?

“The current drink-driving limit gives a false impression that it is safe to drink and drive.

"This is a dangerous message and one that couldn’t be further from the truth.”

The Scottish Government reduced the alcohol limit for drivers from 80 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of blood to 50mg in December, 2014, but the legal level in the rest of the UK remains among the highest in Europe at 80mg.

A DfT spokeswoman said: “Drink-driving is absolutely deplorable, and those who do it not only put their own lives at risk but other people’s too.

“We are working with industry to develop new evidential roadside breath tests, meaning drink-drivers do not have the chance to sober up before being tested, while the Think! Mates Matter campaign had the biggest impact in young drivers’ attitudes to drink-driving in a decade.”