POLICE are launching a month-long crackdown on drivers in the Rye and Battle area who drink or use drugs.
During June officers across the county will be taking action to catch people who think drink or drug driving is acceptable.
The fire service and local councils will be working alongside the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership, which Sussex Police is part of, to carry out targeted days of action across Sussex, as well as high visibility mobile checks, and covert checks at all times of the day.
The campaign aims to reduce the number of collisions in which people are seriously injured or killed as a result of people driving while impaired through alcohol or drug consumption.
Chief Inspector Di Roskilly, of Sussex Police Roads Policing Unit, said: “Drink driving can ruin lives and this June we are aiming to crack down on those who think it is acceptable to get behind the wheel of their car while impaired through drink or drugs.
“We will also be looking to raise awareness of the amount of time alcohol remains in your body. If you have been drinking the night before please think before you get into the car the following morning - you may still be over the drink-drive limit.
“The minimum sentence for anyone caught drink driving, no matter how little over the legal limit you are, is a 12-month disqualification from driving and a fine.
“The maximum penalty is six months’ imprisonment, even if you haven’t been involved in a collision.
“If you cause a serious injury or fatal accident then not only will you receive a sentence to reflect the result of your actions by the courts, you will also have to live with the consequences for the rest of your life.
“There is an increased risk of you being involved in a collision if you are driving whilst drunk or drugged and the statistics support this.”
As well as carrying out stop checks on the roads, teams will be visiting licensed premises to educate drinkers about the consequences of driving while impaired and encouraging people to plan how they are going to get home from a night.
Ken Seymour, Manager of the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership, added: “Over the last five years alcohol related collisions in Sussex have cost society £196.9 million. This figure is far too high.
“Alcohol-related drivers or riders were involved in 17 per cent of fatal collisions in Sussex over the past five years.
“This clearly demonstrates that those who choose to drink and drive are irresponsible; they are putting themselves and other road users at risk.”
So far in 2011 there have been 829 arrests in relation to drink/impaired driving, 50 of these were following a collision.
Chief Inspector Roskilly continued: “The legal limit for drink-driving in the United Kingdom is 35mg of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. There is no hard and fast rule to know when you are over the limit - one alcoholic drink affects different people in different ways and in some cases may put a driver over the legal limit.
“To be absolutely sure the safe limit for driving is no alcohol whatsoever as even small amounts of alcohol can impair driving ability even if you’re still under the drink drive limit.
“Our message is don’t do it, the risks are too high and you will get caught.”
Members of the public are being encouraged to assist with identifying drink-drivers.
If you know that someone is about to go out and drive after they have been drinking, call 999 and ask for the police. If you know someone who is regularly drink driving, call 0845 60 70 999 and ask for our Operation
Crackdown hotline or visit the Operation Crackdown website www.operationcrackdown.org, however if the crime is taking place call 999.