Booze-fuelled accidents rise

POLICE figures show booze-fuelled crashes in Hartlepool which resulted in people being injured have more than doubled in the last four years.

And today officers warned motorists to adhere to the drink-drive rules in a bid to avoid further injuries or even death over the festive period.

There were four drink-drive arrests in 2008 for crashes where a person suffered injuries as a result and a rise to seven in 2009.

Last year saw a reduction to five arrests, but this year, up until the end of November, nine such incidents resulted in arrests.

That means from 2008 up to this year, there has been a 125 per cent hike in smashes which involved a boozed-up driver, in which someone was hurt.

Across the whole of the Cleveland Police force area, however, the same category of figures dropped from 46 arrests in 2008, to 27 this year – a 41 per cent reduction.

Officers also collated statistics for the number of people arrested for drink-driving – whether they were involved in an accident or not.

And the numbers for Hartlepool and the whole of the force area saw a decline of 61 per cent, with 84 arrests four years ago, 67 arrests in 2009, 54 last year and just 32 up to the end of October this year.

Across Cleveland, 708 arrests were recorded overall this year, 862 last year, 1,073 in 2009, and 939 back in 2008.

Throughout the festive season police will be carrying out random stop-checking of vehicles at all times of the day and night, as well as targeting areas known for drink-related collisions and drink or drug drive offenders.

They have reminded drivers that the morning after drinking, they may still be over the limit and could face fines or be banned from driving if found to be driving with an illegal amount of alcohol in their system.

Inspector Mick Little, who is also a member of the Cleveland Casualty Reduction Group, said: “During December, officers will be carrying out random checks on drivers at all times of the day and night in a bid to enforce the law.

“We work all year round to try to get the message across, but some choose to ignore our pleas.”

He added: “Drinking alcohol or taking drugs and then driving is totally unacceptable and irresponsible and could result in a fine, a driving ban, serious injuries or even fatalities.

“This Christmas we will be urging drivers not to take the risk. By having a designated driver or using public transport there is no chance of arrest or prosecution.”

Hartlepool District Licensing Unit’s Sergeant Jonathan Wrigley said: “We work in close partnership with the town’s licensed premises all year round.

“Together we run a variety of initiatives and schemes to support those businesses and help people have a safe, pleasant, and crime-free night out in Hartlepool.”

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