Drink and drug driving are among the main reasons why people are killed or seriously injured on the UK's roads.
This number can rise during the festive season, so between December 1 and January 1 Surrey Police is increasing its presence on Surrey’s roads in order to catch offenders and keep people safe.
Its campaign operates as part of the national policing operation, Operation Limit, and appeals to the public’s sense of shared responsibility to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured.
During last year’s campaign, Surrey Police made 145 arrests and stopped and checked more than a thousand motorists to raise awareness of these issues with those travelling through the county.
Chief Constable Tim De Meyer said: “Driving after consuming alcohol or drugs risks killing innocent people. This December, our officers will be cracking down on this offending.
“Our campaign aims to save lives. If you see that someone is unfit to drive, whether this person is your friend, your family member or your colleague, encourage them to find another way of travelling, whether that is a taxi, a lift or public transport. If you are unable to persuade them otherwise, please call 999 and allow us to deal with them.”
Surrey Police is asking the public to heed three steps to help tackle drink and drug driving:
- The first step is to prevent drink driving by taking easy steps such as walking home from a venue, pre-booking a taxi, or having a designated driver. This prevents the need for someone to have to drive in the first place.
- But, if a friend or loved one hasn’t taken these steps, the public are asked to do all they can to persuade that person not to drive. It could be warning them of the risks of getting caught or, if necessary, taking away the person’s car keys.
- If prevention and persuasion are not successful, we ask the public to report a drink or drug driver to us. Informing the police on a friend or loved-one may seem difficult, but it could in fact be a favour, it could save that person from being involved in a tragic collision. It could save their life.
Superintendent Rachel Glenton, of the Surrey and Sussex Roads Policing Unit, said: “Our officers will be carrying out increased patrols and stop checks on the road networks throughout the month of December.
“This is in addition to our existing patrols which we carry out 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
“Through education, engagement, and enforcement, we aim to reduce the devastating impact of drink and drug driving.
“We will deal robustly with offenders. So, while our officers can’t be everywhere, they could be anywhere at any time, and there really is no excuse for drivers who put their own safety and the safety of everyone else at risk.”
Surrey’s Police and Crime Commissioner Lisa Townsend, who also serves as the national lead for roads policing and transport for the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, said: “Every driver bears an enormous responsibility, both to themselves and others, every time they get behind the wheel.
“Motorists who drink or take drugs before driving are committing a dangerous and selfish act that can forever change a life.
“One out of every 10 casualties of serious and fatal crashes in Surrey between 2020 and 2022 were victims of drink- or drug-driving.
“I cannot overstate how important it is to remain sober, patient, and attentive at the wheel.
“There is no excuse whatsoever for reckless behaviour while driving, and anyone caught breaking these laws should be left in no doubt whatsoever that there are serious consequences for their actions.”
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 online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org
The campaign is being supported by Surrey RoadSafe.