Police call on public to prevent, persuade and report drink drivers this Christmas
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Would you report a drink driver this Christmas?
That’s the question being posed by Chief Constable Jo Shiner, the country’s most senior police officer for road safety, as part of a national crackdown on drink driving.
The major new campaign urges the public to ‘help prevent, persuade and call the police’ on drink drivers this winter.
Latest survey figures show:
81% of Brits (88% in Sussex and Surrey) say drink drivers should be reported to the police… but less than half would actually do it in practice
36% of men and 46% of women say they’d take a drink driver’s car keys off them.
Only 2% say they wouldn’t try to stop a friend from drink driving
The new national campaign, called ‘Drink Driving – Together We Can Stop It’, appeals to the public’s sense of shared responsibility to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads.
It runs alongside a national police operation called Op Limit, where all police forces in England and Wales are increasing their presence on the roads to coincide with the football world cup and lead up to Christmas to target and catch drink and drug drivers.
In 2020 (latest published figures) an estimated 6,480 people were killed or injured in the UK when one of the drivers involved was over the drink-drive limit.
Chief Constable Jo Shiner, who is the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for Roads Policing, is sharing a message for all drivers and their friends.
She said: “Drink driving destroys lives, but tragically every day reckless drivers get behind the wheel and put themselves and others at risk.
“People who drink drive need to be stopped. Our campaign aims to save lives by deterring people from drink and drug-driving, and to deal robustly with offenders.
“That’s why we are calling on the public and friends of drink drivers to prevent, persuade and – as a last resort – report drink driving to police this Christmas.”
Sussex Police is asking friends to plan ahead for their night out over the festive period. Who is your designated driver? Can you pre-book a taxi? Can you walk to the venue?
There’s also a role for persuasion – can you step in to help someone who’s about to drink drive to get home safely?
If persuasion doesn’t work, you can report a drink driver to us so we can stop them, arrest them and get them off the road. Last year, officers in Sussex and Surrey made more than 2,000 drink and drug drive arrests.
Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “Everybody knows that drink and drug-driving can have serious consequences but too many drivers still either don’t care or don’t think they’ll get caught.
“It’s just a simple fact: alcohol or drugs can impair anyone’s driving judgement and ability and it’s simply a risk no-one should consider.
“Taking action before a night out and making plans to safely get home could make all the difference and even save lives. Whilst it is the driver’s responsibility not to get behind the wheel, we should never be afraid to challenge our friends, family or colleagues who think they’ll be ok.
“No one wants their night to end up in an arrest and no one wants a knock at the door telling them their loved one is seriously injured or worse. Whether it be a designated driver, public transport or finding somewhere safe to stay – there is always a better option.”
Roads Minister Richard Holden said: “Driving under the influence puts others at risk, resulting in thousands of serious injuries and deaths on our roads each year, and these tragedies must be stamped out.
“We are improving road safety through our THINK! Campaign and working closely with enforcement to crackdown on drink and drug driving, which sadly happens too often during the festive season.”
CC Shiner added: “Drink drivers should be aware of the consequences.
“You could face a minimum 12-month driving ban, an unlimited fine and even a prison sentence. There’s also the personal impact of having a criminal record and possibly losing your job.
“Most importantly you could kill or seriously injury yourself or someone else.
“I know from personal experience the heartbreak of losing a loved one on the road, I lost my father when I was a teenager.
“Hopefully this year, with the public and police working together, it will mean fewer families facing this Christmas without their loved ones.”
That’s why Sussex Police is calling on the public and friends of drink drivers to prevent, persuade and – as a last resort – report drink driving to police this Christmas.