HUNDREDS of drivers were breath-tested during a Christmas drink and drug drive crackdown.
The campaign took place across the County Durham throughout December, using the theme ‘The Only Safe Drink is a Soft Drink’.
In total, 1,347 motorists were breath tested, with 49 of those giving positive results or refusing to give tests.
There were 78 arrests for being unfit through drink or drugs, including those tested at the roadside.
Police carried out a number of operations to stop check vehicles, both in the morning and evening, where drivers were asked to take a voluntary breath test.
Officers also targeted areas known for drink-related collisions.
Chief Inspector Ed Turner, head of the joint Cleveland and Durham specialist operations unit, said: “It is disappointing that so many motorists got behind the wheel and drove, despite being unfit to do so.
“However, the figures once again show the vast majority are law-abiding and, judging by the feedback we received at the voluntary roadside tests, fully supportive of the campaign.
“Drink-driving is not just an issue we address over the festive period, it is one of the four main causes of fatalities on the roads.
“It will continue to be a priority for the operations unit throughout the year.”
The majority of fatal road collisions involve one or more of the so-called “fatal four” issues – impairment through drink or drugs, excess or inappropriate speed, distractions to the driver or failure to wear a seatbelt.