Police are set to launch a summer crackdown on drink and drug-drivers in Surrey and Sussex.
The two-week campaign aims to educate motorists about the dangers of driving under the influence, and to target offenders who pose a risk to themselves and other road users.
While officers routinely respond to reports of drink and drug-driving 365 days a year, patrols will be increased across the counties from 29 June to 13 July.
The campaign also coincides with the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s seatbelt operation, aimed to raise awareness of the potentially devastating consequences of not belting up in a vehicle.
You can read more about the seatbelt campaign here.
Chief Inspector Michael Hodder, of the Surrey and Sussex Roads Policing Unit, said: “Our priority is to keep everyone as safe as possible on our roads, and to deal robustly with anyone who compromises the safety of themselves or anyone else.
“Much of this is down to education and enforcement of the ‘fatal four’ offences – speeding, drink and drug-driving, mobile phone use and not wearing a seatbelt. These are the four most common causes of fatal and seriously injury collisions on our roads.
“I’m sure people will have heard me warn them about these dangers before, but the message remains the same as I am committed to saving lives. Drink and drug-driving destroys lives, it’s as simple as that.
“While the vast majority of motorists drive safely and responsibly, there continues to be a small minority who think they are above the law. Whether you “feel fine” or were “just around the corner”, we’ve heard every excuse in the book. But there’s no excuse for ever driving under the influence of drink or drugs.”
Last year in Sussex, a total of 289 crashes involving a drink-driver resulted in one or more persons being injured. Of these, four were fatal.
Chief Insp Hodder said: “These are statistics which are wholly avoidable. By choosing to drink-drive, you are choosing to put your life – and the lives of other innocent road users – at risk.
“We’ll continue to proactively patrol our counties’ roads and respond to reports of drink and drug-drivers when we receive them. We can’t be everywhere, but we could be anywhere.
“Think carefully before you make your next journey. It could be your last.”
Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “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 totally irresponsible and potentially life-threatening behaviour.
“Those who are caught over the limit should be in no doubt that they will face the legal and social consequences of their actions, which could mean, fines, imprisonment, losing their licence and their livelihoods.”
Anyone caught and convicted as part of the summer 2020 crackdown will be identified on the Sussex Police news website and social media pages.
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.
The drink and drug-driving campaign is being run in conjunction with partners including Sussex Safer Roads Partnership and DriveSmart in Surrey.
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.