This Christmas - drink or drive - NEVER both

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With preparations for Christmas now in full swing, the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership are reminding motorists that they have a simple choice facing them this year - to drink or to drive - never both.

Each year, the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership (SSRP) takes to the streets of Sussex, reminding motorists of the dangers of drinking and driving.

And every festive season, the most common question asked of the Partnership is:

“How much can I drink and still be legally allowed to drive?”

The answer to that is simple - there is no way to know if an individual is going to be a danger on the roads, even after just one drink. There are far too many factors determining the rate at which alcohol is absorbed into the body to estimate how much one drink will affect one individual at one particular time.

To add to the uncertainty, the same drink can have completely different effects on different days.

“This year, we’re presenting motorists with a simple choice,” commented Phil Nicholas, Chief Inspector, Roads Policing, Sussex Police.

“That choice is to drink or to drive - but never to mix the two.

“The overwhelming majority of drivers make this choice without even thinking about it, reducing the potential harm to them and others. Drinking and driving is socially unacceptable, yet a small minority of motorists ignore the opinions of everyone around them and get behind the wheel after having a few alcoholic drinks.”

The drink or drive choice message will be actively enforced by Sussex Police, who will be conducting a range of roadside checks throughout Sussex, as well as deploying additional patrol vehicles to stop suspected drink-drivers in the act.

Teams from the Fire and Rescue Services and County/City Councils will also be taking the choice message into town centres, bars, pubs and clubs throughout December.

Additionally, a pilot project is running in Asda, Ferring, where the management have allowed information to be placed on bottles of alcohol sold from the store.

This initiative aims to raise discussion around the drink or drive choice amongst the many people who will be mainly drinking at home this Christmas.

Anyone who thinks a motorist is about to make the wrong choice and get behind the wheel after drinking can make a report by text - using the number 65999. Reports will need to contain as much information as possible - the vehicle’s make/model/colour and number plate, geographical location, and the date/time that the driver is expected to be on the road.

In an emergency, concerned individuals should phone 999.