Police have launched a hard-hitting new campaign to show the devastating effects of drink and drug driving over the festive period.
The joint Cleveland and Durham police campaign, using the hashtag #noemptychair, encourages people to see that drink and drug driving kills.
The campaign states ‘Pain is an empty chair’ and reminds people not to be the reason why someone’s loved one is not at the Christmas table, Christmas party or festive get together this year.
The latest available figures show that 38 people were killed on roads in the North East due to a suspected drink/drug driver between 2012 and 2016.
Officers from Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit (CDSOU), the team responsible for roads policing, want to make it clear that every death is one too many and leaves an empty chair for that person’s family and loved ones which will never be filled.
Inspector Darren Breslin said: “Drink drug driving has fatal and life-altering consequences. By making people think about an ‘empty chair’ – which could be them or a loved one – we hope to change people’s behaviour.
“We hear all the excuses but there is no excuse for getting behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
“Drink drug driving robs people of their loved ones, it causes catastrophic injuries and it wrecks peoples’ lives and livelihoods. No matter who you are, or the situation you’re in, there is no justification.
“We want people to see the campaign and either change their own behaviour or change the behaviour of those around them. No one should turn a blind eye if they suspect someone of drink or drug driving.”
Throughout the festive season the CDSOU will be carrying out random stop checks across the Cleveland and Durham areas.
Officers will also be acting on intelligence and people are encouraged suspected drink/drug drivers on the non-emergency number 101 or anonymously to Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.
For more information #noemptychair