Officers 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. Not wearing a seat belt can be a fatal decision even on short, familiar journeys.
It is a legal requirement for drivers and passengers to wear a seat belt; it is also the responsibility of the driver to ensure that children are using the correct safety restraints for their age and size. If caught not wearing a seat belt, individuals could face a fine of £100. If taken to court, this could be increased up to £500.
The Drive SMART partnership in Surrey will be supporting the National Police Chiefs’ Council seatbelt campaign throughout June and July 2020.
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 Surrey, a total of 83 crashes where drink driving may have been a factor resulted in one or more persons being injured. Two road deaths were also recorded where drink driving may have contributed to the circumstances.
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.”
Surrey Police & Crime Commissioner David Munro said: “Whilst pubs and restaurants won’t be re-opening until July, drink and drug driving remains a real concern if people have been drinking or taking other substances at home and then getting behind the wheel. This is 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, but also imprisonment, losing their licence and their livelihoods.”
Anyone caught and convicted as part of the summer 2020 crackdown will be identified on the Surrey 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.
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
Surrey Police, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey, Surrey County Council (including Surrey Fire and Rescue Service) and Highways England have committed to renew the Drive SMART Partnership.
The primary aim of the Surrey Safer Roads Partnership Drive SMART is “Making People Safer on Surrey’s Roads”. Our objectives are to work together to:
• Reduce the number of road casualties, especially fatal and serious injuries
• Tackle collision clusters and high risk routes
• Identify and support vulnerable road users to reduce their risk
• Encourage safer and considerate road user behaviour
For more information please visit: https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/roads-and-transport/road-safety/safer-roads-partnership-road-safety-strategy-2019-2021