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Police Say: ‘Go Cold Turkey For Christmas’

Published on: 2 Dec, 2016
Updated on: 5 Dec, 2016
A Surrey police officer conducts a roadside breathalyser test

A Surrey police officer conducts a roadside breathalyser test

There is no safe limit for driving under the influence of drink or drugs is the message from Surrey Police as the festive season approaches.

This year to prevent drink and drug driving the police are simply saying: “Go cold turkey” and advising drivers to have none at all if they are to get behind a wheel.

The Christmas campaign is launching on Thursday, December 1 and the 2016 programme will see Surrey and Sussex Roads Policing Units carrying out dedicated patrols across the two counties to put the brakes on motorists who take to the road whilst under the influence of intoxicating substances.

The initiative, which is supported by DriveSmart and the independent charity Crimestoppers, is set to run until January 1, 2017.

During the Christmas crackdown Surrey roads police officers will be tackling the issue on the roads network on a 24/7 basis.  Teams will be out day and night to educate the driving population and to deal with motorists who are found to be over the legal drink and/or drug driving limit.

Police Superintendent Chris Moon

Police Superintendent Chris Moon

But, as Superintendent Chris Moon, Head of Surrey and Sussex Roads Policing Unit said: “There is no safe limit for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol – our advice is simple – Go cold turkey or do not drive.

“If you’re tempted just think of the consequences, you could lose your job, your home or your life. And remember even if you opt to take the sensible way home at night you may still be over the limit the following morning.

Overall the number of positive breath tests is reported to have decreased year on year, evidence, say the police, that people are taking on board just how dangerous drink or drug driving can be.

Supt Moon continued: “Drink or drugs impair your judgement and ability to drive safely.  Not only can you cause injury or death to others, being caught drink or drug driving can also have other consequences such as a criminal record, a heavy fine, losing your job and your licence, an increase in your insurance premiums and trouble travelling to certain countries.”

A number of tactics will be deployed as officers across the counties are gearing up for the annual campaign which is just one part of the year round work by Surrey and Sussex Police to prevent deaths and serious injury on the road network.

The Christmas campaign aims to encourage everyone to be community minded and to report drivers to police if they are seen to be drink or drug driving. Information can be passed via text on 65999 or by dialling 999 if the circumstances involve a driver causing immediate danger to others by driving when intoxicated. Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, you won’t have to give your name, make a statement or appear in court.

Any offences will be dealt with robustly – the maximum sentences for drink driving are six months imprisonment and a fine of up to £5,000, plus points and/or a disqualification. If a death is caused through dangerous driving, while over the drink drive limit, a sentence of up to 14 years behind bars can result.

Police officers are equipped to detect alcohol and drugs in suspected drivers

Police officers are equipped to detect alcohol and drugs in suspected drivers. Left – a “Drugwipe detector, right – a breathalyser

Legislation since March 2015 sets legal limits for the amount of a substance – including illegal drugs and prescription medication – motorists can have in their system while driving. Officers no longer have to prove that a motorist is unfit to drive only that the driver has an illegal level of drugs in their system when on the road.

Supt Moon offers some simple advice to ensure you remain safe and don’t put others at risk of harm during the festive period:
• If you have, or are planning to drink alcohol, plan your journey home without driving.
• Don’t offer an alcoholic drink or drugs to someone you know is planning to drive.
• Don’t accept a lift from a driver who you know has drunk alcohol or taken drugs.

He said: “We work hard to drive home the message that drink or drug driving will not be tolerated but ultimately it is up to the individual and those who are aware of such behaviours to take responsibility. I implore people to be sensible and make the 2016 festivities memorable for all the right reasons.”

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