YOUNG motorists and morning-after party-goers will be targeted in this year’s Christmas crackdown on drink driving.
Throughout this month and into the early new year, officers from Northumbria, Cleveland and Durham will be out to target motorists who break the law.
The focus of this year’s national campaign is drivers under the age of 25, who, according to Department for Transport figures, fail more breath tests or refuse to provide a specimen than any other age group.
It also aims to search for those who drink alcohol or take drugs and drive the morning after while still under the effects.
All drivers involved in crashes this month will be breath tested, while those on Wearside who commit a moving road traffic offence, such as speeding, will also be asked.
Officers in Sunderland will work with neighbourhood teams to target those suspected of taking to the roads while worse for wear, with information being fed in by various sources, including residents.
In County Durham, unmarked cars will be used and stops will be carried out in areas known for drink-related collisions.
Chief Inspector Peter Reeve, from Northumbria’s operations command, said: “As always, we will be working hard to make sure the roads are safe for everyone over the festive period.
“We need people to stop and ask themselves how they are going to get home.
“The obvious advice is to be responsible and don’t drink before driving.
“However, there are always options to get home.
“Always ensure someone in your group remains sober and acts as the designated driver, use public transport or book a taxi.
“Doing one of these simple things could actually be a life changing and the difference between getting home safely or causing death or injury to yourself or others.
“Our message is clear – think before you drink.”
Durham’s Chief Constable Mike Barton said: “While the vast majority of drivers are sensible and perfectly safe on the roads, we know there remains a small number who are thoughtless, reckless and a menace to other people as well as themselves.
“For those irresponsible few, the gloves are off.”
Durham has revealed during the last 12 months, more than 13,000 motorists have been breath tested by the joint traffic unit.
More than 850 – 6.8 per cent – were found to be over the limit or refused to give a specimen.
Between 2007 and 2011, there have been 1,085 casualties as a result of collisions involving drink drivers in the two areas, which includes 28 killed in collisions and 189 who suffered serious injuries.