Shocking levels of drink drug driving discovered by police in Sussex

'Shocking' levels of drug driving are fast becoming the biggest silent threat to safety on roads in our region.

The warning comes from Sussex Police's Chief Constable Jo Shiner comes during the first week of December and the force's drink and drug driving campaign.

Officers from the Surrey and Sussex Roads Policing Unit (RPU) carried out checks at various locations across the county, administered 342 roadside breath tests and 43 DrugWipe tests between 1 December and 8 December.

Nationally, the number of positive drugs wipe tests carried out by police has tripled between 2015 and 2020. 

Chief Constable Jo Shiner is the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) lead for roads policing said: "The rates of drug driving, the complacency towards drug driving, the impact on families whose loved ones are killed through drug driving is truly shocking and it's become a silent threat to public safety. I want to change that.

"Drink driving will always remain a key concern but there is now much greater awareness and challenge and, in some respects, it can be easier to spot. That's not the same for drug driving.

"Evidently, through our current campaign, the police will use all tools at their disposal to proactively target and enforce drug driving but - if we are to prevent countless more lives lost or changed forever - we need a whole society approach.

"Drug driving needs to be made as socially unacceptable as drink driving and not wearing a seat-belt, where people think twice before getting in a vehicle."

In Sussex, during a week-long campaign in August, 57% of 52 drivers tested for drugs showed a positive result. The most common drugs tested for are cannabis and cocaine.

In Great Britain is it illegal to drive if:

- A driver is unfit to do so because they are on legal or illegal drugs; or

- A driver has certain levels of drug in their blood (even if it hasn't affected their driving)

Anyone convicted of drug driving can expect a minimum 1 year driving ban, an unlimited fine, up to six months' in prison and a criminal record, potentially impacting employment and travel to places such as the USA.

The Christmas crackdown on drink and drug drivers is a campaign which runs from December 1 to January 1.

This is in addition to the routine roads policing work carried out 365 days a year and a similar month-long campaign in the summer.

In keeping with previous campaigns, anyone arrested during this period and convicted will be identified on our website and social media channels as a deterrent.

If you know someone is driving while over the limit or after taking drugs, call 999. You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or report it online.

The campaign is being supported by the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership and DriveSmart in Surrey.