Drink driver causes crash but claims he "felt fine to drive"

A motorist who caused a crash, while almost four times the drink-drive limit, said he “felt fine to drive”.

Lincoln Simmons was driving a blue Volkswagen Passat on the A23 London Road, Crawley, about 1pm on 2 December when he collided a black Renault Clio.

The impact caused the Clio to mount the roundabout and crash through road signage. The driver – a 53-year-old woman from Haywards Heath – sustained significant bruising.

Photo credit: Sussex Police

The Passat failed to stop at the scene and was located a short distance away, near Gatwick Airport.

Simmons failed a roadside breath test, and was subsequently arrested and charged with failing to stop after a road traffic collision, and driving with 139mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath in his system. The legal limit is 35mcg.

In police interview, he stated he had consumed a litre of vodka the previous evening and a small bottle of whiskey prior to the crash, but claimed he is “used to drinking” so it “takes a lot of alcohol to feel the effects”.

The 48-year-old, who is unemployed, of Galahad Road, Crawley, pleaded guilty to both offences and was disqualified from driving for 32 months when he appeared before Crawley Magistrates’ Court on 11 February.

He was also given a 12-month community order requiring him to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work, and must pay £85 costs and a £95 victim surcharge.

Chief Inspector Michael Hodder, of the Surrey and Sussex Roads Policing Unit, said: “One of the most common excuses we hear from drink-drivers is that they “felt fine” to drive. But even a small amount of alcohol has the ability to impair your judgement and reaction time.

“Feeling fine is not a good judgement of your ability to drive. If you drink and drive you are committing an offence which carries with it a risk of serious injury or death to yourself or someone else.

 “The bottom line is there is no excuse to drive under the influence of drink or drugs.

“Our priority is to keep everyone safe on our roads, and we will continue to crack down on anyone who compromises this.”

A total of 212 arrests made in Sussex during our Christmas crackdown on drink and drug-drivers, which ran from 1 December 2020 to 1 January 2021.

This dedicated operation – aimed to provide education and enforcement to motorists – was run in addition to our routine roads policing activity, 365 days a year.

Of those arrested, 34 have since been convicted in court. The remaining have either been charged, released under investigation or released without charge.

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