Sussex Police has launched the force’s annual summer crackdown on drink and drug-drivers who put people at risk of harm on our roads.
Officers have already been conducting roadside checks on drivers and in the first week made 50 arrests; where arrests 28 were for offences relating to drug-driving and 22 were for offences relating to drink-driving.
Consuming alcohol or taking drugs is one of the most common causes of collisions which result in someone being killed or seriously injured (KSI collisions) on our roads.
The “fatal five” factors are; drink and drug-driving, driving at excess speed, not wearing a seatbelt, using a mobile phone or being distracted while driving, and driving in a careless, inconsiderate or dangerous manner.
But drivers continue to ignore the dangers, putting their own lives and the lives of other road users at risk.
Last year, Sussex Police made 257 arrests as part of its winter crackdown. Of these, 137 arrests were for drug-driving, 111 were for drink-driving, and nine were for both drink and drug-driving.
So from August 1 to September 1, Sussex and Surrey Police are carrying out extra checks and enforcement on motorists in order to prevent and detect criminals, and to warn drivers not to take the risk in the first place.
The extra checks are in addition to the routine roads policing work undertaken by officers from the Roads Policing Unit (RPU), Specialist Enforcement Unit (SEU), and divisional officers that are carried out 24 hours a day and 365 days per year.
Chief Constable Jo Shiner said: “There is no excuse for being behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming drugs or alcohol.
“It is the responsibility of every road user to make sure they abide by the law and that they are not putting themselves or other road users at risk.
“The fact we made 257 arrests and stopped more than 6,000 motorists in our last campaign, demonstrates our officers’ determination to catch offenders and keep our roads safe.”
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “I fully support Sussex Police in their ongoing campaigns to crack down on collisions caused by the ‘fatal five’.
“By driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs you are committing an unforgiveable act and gambling with your own and other people’s lives.
“It is vital that we all understand the risks, including that someone can still be over the limit the next morning and that drugs can remain in a person’s system for a long time.
“It truly isn’t worth the gamble – your friends and family don’t deserve a knock at the door telling them their loved one has been seriously injured or killed on the road.”
Chief Inspector Michael Hodder, of the Surrey and Sussex Roads Policing Unit, said: “It cannot be said enough how much drink and drug-driving can ruin lives.
“Drink-driving is something that is becoming more socially unacceptable but unfortunately, we are seeing more and more drug-driving on our roads.
“This is something we are working hard to tackle, and these dedicated campaigns are crucial in raising awareness, deterring would-be offenders, and keeping as many people as possible safe on the roads.
“As always, we will deal extremely robustly with these offenders through a combination of measures including education and enforcement, with a special emphasis on reducing casualty rates of vulnerable users like motorcyclists and young drivers.
“Technology now allows us to test drivers at the roadside there and then for drugs, which allows us to be more effective in how we tackle drug driving and means that drivers who are breaking the law, will be caught.
“Alcohol and drugs affect everyone differently, so do the right thing, don’t risk it and arrange alternative ways home if you are planning on going out.”
In line with our previous campaigns, anyone arrested during this period and then convicted may be identified on our website and social media channels as a deterrent.
The consequences of drink or drug-driving could include:
• Killing or seriously injuring yourself or someone else;
• 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 costs;
• Trouble travelling to countries such as the USA.
• If you know someone is driving while over the limit or after taking drugs, call 999.
You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or report it online. www.crimestoppers-uk.org
The campaign is being run in conjunction with the DriveSmart in Surrey and Sussex Safer Roads Partnership.