A police clamp down on drink and drug driving this Christmas has been launched in Hartlepool and East Durham.
Officers in the joint Cleveland and Durham police road policing unit are targeting drink and drug drivers in the festive period.
In Hartlepool there were 52 casualties in collisions involving drink and drug drivers, which seven involving serious injury, between 2012 and 2016. County Durham had 18 deaths, 67 involving serious injury and 325 with slight injury.
Chief Inspector Graham Milne, of Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit, said: “To combat this, extra patrols and roadside checks will be conducted in the run up to and over Christmas and New Year, in a bid to tackle those who commit the unacceptable act of drink or drug driving.
“It is worrying, that we push this message out every year, and still many reckless drivers ignore the warnings that cause devastating consequences.”
Alcohol and drugs both affect your ability to judge speed and distances accurately and slow down your reaction time, warn police.
Ch Insp Milne added: “Tackling drink and drug drivers is a year round commitment for us but we know that around the festive period, many people for whatever reason, decide to get in a car while drunk.
“Perhaps home is ‘just down the road’ from the pub, but you should never get in a car under the influence.”
Police will be staging in educational and enforcement action by carrying out random checks on drivers.
People are encouraged to report any concerns relating to drink or drug driving anonymously using Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.