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Emergency Services plea to prevent drink and drug driving in Surrey this Christmas

Emergency Services in Surrey are warning residents about getting home safely this Christmas as data shows a peak in drink and drug driving during the winter months.

The campaign is a result of the 233 road traffic collisions attended last winter (October-January) by Surrey Fire and Rescue Service, almost a quarter of which were caused by driving under the influence of drink or drugs, including one, very sad, fatal collision.

Surrey Fire and Rescue Service, Surrey Police and South East Coast Ambulance Service have joined up on the road safety campaign which highlights the consequences, which could include:

  • A criminal record
  • A maximum penalty of six months in prison
  • An unlimited fine
  • An increase in your insurance premium
  • An automatic driving ban of at least one year (three years if you’ve been convicted twice in 10 years),
  • If you drive for work, your employer will see your conviction
  • Trouble travelling to countries such as the USA

In addition to the above, should anyone tragically cause death by driving under the influence, they can be charged with death by careless driving which carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison and an unlimited fine.

They’re also giving away two Amazon Echo Auto prizes. To be in with a chance, visit www.surreycc.gov.uk/fire, select the road safety banner and answer a short question.

Area Commander for Community Resilience at Surrey Fire and Rescue Service, Damian Watts, said: “We’re all hoping to have a better Christmas this year. Christmas parties, seeing loved ones and having a good time – and I for one am hoping to do the same! However, driving under the influence is a deadly problem in Surrey and is easily preventable – please book a taxi, use public transport or ask a loved one to pick you up. It really is not worth the risk.”

Chief Inspector Michael Hodder, of the Surrey and Sussex Roads Policing Unit, said: Drink and drug driving really does destroy lives and is something we see far too much on Surrey roads. Most people are safe and conscientious motorists, but despite knowing the risks, there is still a small number of people who are not only willing risking their own lives but the lives of others.

As always, we will deal extremely robustly with these offenders through a combination of measures including education, engineering and enforcement, with a special emphasis on reducing casualty rates of vulnerable users like motorcyclists and young drivers.”

Operating Unit Manager for South East Coast Ambulance Service’s Gatwick and Redhill region Paul Fisher said:It’s a sad reality that our staff far too often see the tragic impact that drink and drug driving has on people’s lives and that lives will be lost on our roads this Christmas because of it. One drink is never worth the risk. We would urge people to plan ahead when they go out and to ensure they have a safe option to get home without endangering the lives of themselves, families, friends and all other road users.”

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