A summer campaign to crack down on drink and drug-drivers kicks off today (Friday 11 June), in conjunction with the Euro 2020 football tournament.
Both Surrey Police and Sussex Police will deploy increased resources to tackle one of the five most common causes of fatal and serious injury collisions on our roads.
The goal is to keep all road users safe, and to take robust action against those who put the lives of themselves and others at risk.
Working with partners including Sussex Safer Roads Partnership and Drive Smart Surrey, the forces are urging motorists to stay onside of the law – or face the penalties.
Chief Inspector Michael Hodder, of the Surrey and Sussex Roads Policing Unit, said: “Our aim is to reduce the possibility of people being injured or killed through collisions whereby the driver has been under the influence of drink or drugs.
“However, we cannot do this on our own. I need your help to take responsibility for your own actions and the actions of others – do not drive if you are going to drink or use drugs, as the consequences can be fatal for yourself or an innocent member of the public.
“And if you suspect someone is driving under the influence of drink or drugs, report it to us immediately – you could save a life.
“We all know that drinking or using drugs whilst driving is not only dangerous, but socially unacceptable, and my plea is that we work together to protect everyone on the roads from harm.
“There are a lot of miles to cover across Surrey and Sussex, and while we may not be everywhere all the time, we could be anywhere.”
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “I know that road safety continues to be a top priority for Sussex residents. I’ve held 32 focus groups over the last month and nearly all in attendance have told me that one of their biggest concern is antisocial and dangerous driving.
“I am always dismayed by the number of people who choose to get behind the wheel of their vehicle when they are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. This is not just inconsiderate, it’s totally irresponsible. Those who kill or seriously injure others when over the limit should be in no doubt that they will face the legal and social consequences of their actions.
“With football season in full swing and sunny summer weather to enjoy, we must make sure that we are taking responsibility for our actions when out socialising. The message is clear: drink or drive; don’t take the risk and do both, even if you have had ‘only one drink’.”
The dedicated campaign runs from Friday 11 June to Sunday 11 July, and is in addition to routine roads policing 365 days a year.
In keeping with previous campaigns, the identities of anyone arrested for drink or drug-driving during this period and subsequently convicted, will be published on our website and social media channels.
Chief Insp Hodder added: “We hope that by maximising publication of this campaign, people will think twice about their actions. We appreciate that the vast majority of motorists are safe and competent road users, but there is always a minority who ignore our advice and risk lives.
“Our advice to everyone – whether you’re watching the football or socialising with friends or family this summer – is to drink or drive; never both. Alcohol affects different people in different ways, and the only way to guarantee you are safe to drive is to have no alcohol at all. Even one pint of beer, or one glass of wine, can be enough to put you over the limit and significantly impair your ability to drive safely.
“Think about it before you get behind the wheel. Don’t let your next journey be your last.”
Between April 2020 and March 2021, 291 people casualties were involved in a drink or drug-driving related collision in Sussex; three of these were fatal.
Between April 2020 and March 2021, 212 people casualties were involved in a drink or drug-driving related collision in Surrey; two of these were fatal.
During the same period, a total of 1,185 arrests were made for drink-driving in Sussex, and a further 1,135 for drug-driving.
The consequences of drink or drug-driving could include the following:
A minimum 12 month ban;
An unlimited fine;
A possible prison sentence;
A criminal record, which could affect your current and future employment;
An increase in your car insurance;
Trouble travelling to countries such as the USA;
You could also kill or seriously injure yourself or someone else.
People in Sussex can text officers on 65999 with the details of people they suspect of drink or drug-driving, or visit the Operation Crackdown website.
You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or report it online.
If you know someone is driving while over the limit or after taking drugs, call 999.