The annual Christmas and new year crackdown on drink and drug drivers is about to get under way, Sussex Police said.
The force said: “Increased patrols and stop checks will be carried out throughout this month, when there tends to be more social occasions which could result in motorists driving under the influence.
“But while we ho-ho-hope you have fun this festive season, we can assure you driving with drink or drugs in your system is no laughing matter.
“A total of 1,003 people were killed or seriously injured in road traffic collisions in Sussex last year, 74 of which involved a drink-driver (statistics from the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership).”
Chief Inspector Michael Hodder, of the Surrey and Sussex Roads Policing Unit, said: “Christmas is typically considered a time of ‘giving’ and ‘sharing’.
“But don’t give us an excuse to arrest you and don’t let us share the bad news with your loved ones if you’re involved in a collision.
“This campaign is all about education and enforcement. Our main aims are to save lives by deterring people from drink and drug driving, and to deal robustly with offenders.
“As such, we will continue to publicise the names of those convicted as part of the campaign.”
Sussex Police added: “The crackdown starts on Wednesday (18 December) to Wednesday 1 January 2020 inclusive, in line with guidance from the National Police Chief’s Council.
“However, this will be in addition to our routine daily policing.”
Chief Inspector Hodder said: “While this is a dedicated campaign which occurs twice a year during peak periods – at Christmas and in the summer – we still respond to reports of drink and drug drivers 365 days a year.
“It is no secret that drink and drug driving destroys lives. It happens year on year and, sadly, despite our repeated warnings, there will always be a minority of selfish and shameful individuals who still continue to put the lives of themselves and others at risk.”
During the same campaign last year (1 December 2018 to 1 January 2019), a total of 240 arrests were made in Sussex.
Chief Inspector Hodder said: “If you’re going to consume drink or drugs, we’d encourage you to plan ahead – walk home, book a taxi, take public transport or get a lift with a sober driver. Never get into a vehicle with someone you know is over the limit.
“If you’re planning to drive after ‘just a couple’, it’s more than likely you’ll be over the limit. The only way to guarantee you’re under the limit is to drink or drive – never both.
“Also be mindful of the amount of time it takes for substances to leave your body. Even if you’ve slept for several hours, you could still be over the limit the next morning. And a coffee and a cold shower won’t speed up the process.”
The Sussex Safer Roads Partnership has a morning-after calculator on its website, where you can find out roughly how long it takes before you can safely drive.
Sussex police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne said: “I am still dismayed by the number of people who get behind the wheel of their vehicle when they are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
“It shows their contempt for the law and reckless disregard for other road users and pedestrians.
“Last month I held the first Road Safety Summit for Sussex and this was a top concern for residents.
“I know that they have no sympathy for those who kill or seriously injure when under the influence, so the ‘naming and shaming’ technique of this campaign should act as a deterrent.
“The message now and all year round is clear – drink or drive – don’t put other people’s lives at risk. If you are caught driving under the influence expect to face the consequences.”