HARTLEPOOL United manager Colin Cooper has lent his support to a new summer initiative aimed at cracking down on drink and drug driving.
Cleveland and Durham Police kicked off their summer campaign with the support of Championship side Middlesbrough and Sky Bet League Two side Pools.
This year’s campaign coincides with the World Cup, when some fixtures are being shown late at night due to the time difference.
The main focus of the campaign, which takes place throughout the month of June, will be those drivers who get into their car on a morning after drinking alcohol or taking drugs the night before, meaning that they could still be over the legal limit.
Colin Cooper said; “I think it’s extremely important that we all enjoy the World Cup but also remain sensible in terms of the amount of alcohol we drink if we are due to be driving the next day.
“With games kicking off late in the evening at this summer’s tournament I think we all need to be mindful of the level of alcohol in our system and make sure we don’t take risks with it.
“Have fun, enjoy the football but make sure you don’t put yourself and others at risk.”
The main focus of the campaign will be younger drivers, although all drivers are being reminded that they could still be under the influence of alcohol or drugs the morning after.
Between 2009 and 2013, a total of 1,128 drivers aged 17 to 24 were involved in collisions between the hours of 5am and midday in the Durham and Cleveland force areas.
Chief Inspector Alison Jackson, head of the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit, said: “If you are found to be over the limit the next day you will be dealt with and prosecuted for the offence just as if you had got behind the wheel when intoxicated at the time.
“Driving in this state could easily lead to a serious or fatal crash because the driver is still affected from last night’s alcohol. Our message is simple - don’t risk it.”
Middlesbrough assistant head coach and former Pools Number 2, Craig Hignett said: “Alcohol can stay in the body for hours, so it’s important not to risk driving the morning after when you may still be over the limit. Let’s enjoy the football – and stay safe on the roads.”
Ex-Middlesbrough footballer Gary Pallister and current Pools midfielder Lewis Hawkins launched the campaign in Eston by trying to score goals while wearing ‘beer goggles’ – specially designed eyewear which mimic the disorientation experienced while drunk.