185 drivers arrested in month-long drink and drugs crackdown

A drink-driving test.
A drink-driving test.
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More than 180 drink and drug-drivers were caught by police during a month-long crackdown.

Officers from the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit (CDSOU) joined a national campaign at the start of December, covering the run-up to the festive period and the New Year.

It is alarming how many people still think they can get away with driving while they are unfit to do so, and are willing to gamble with their lives and the lives of others.

Chief inspector Mick Robson, head of roads policing for the CDSOU

Roadside checkpoints were staged at various locations in the two force areas and any driver in a collision, regardless of fault was breath-tested.

It was the first Christmas campaign to use Drugwipe kits, which were introduced last March.

The kits give officers the means to test at the roadside anyone they think is under the influence of illegal drugs.

From December 1 to 31, a total of 185 drivers were arrested across County Durham and Cleveland.

Of the arrests, 125 were for drink-related offences, 46 for drugs, and 14 for being unable to provide a specimen for analysis.

Chief inspector Mick Robson, head of roads policing for the CDSOU, said: “These figures demonstrate very clearly the need for us to be vigilant. It is alarming how many people still think they can get away with driving while they are unfit to do so, and are willing to gamble with their lives and the lives of others.”

“The communities of Cleveland and County Durham will be much safer as a result of the actions carried out by our officers throughout December.

“But keeping our roads safe is what we do all year round, not just over Christmas.

“Over the next 12 months we will continue our rolling programme of casualty reduction initiatives, and there will be further campaigns targeting drink or drug-drivers.”

Drivers were warned last year that they could be tested at the roadside with the Drugwipe kit.

It uses a mouth swab to test any driver suspected to be impaired through the use of drugs such as cocaine and cannabis. If the sample gives a positive reading they can be arrested there and then, with a further reading then taken at an independent laboratory.