THE number of booze-fuelled drivers getting behind the wheel over the festive holidays has increased, new figures show.
Traffic officers from Northumbria Police stopped more than 1,000 motorists during the force’s month-long crackdown on drink-driving.
Out of those drivers, 83 failed or refused to take a breathalyser test.
As part of the campaign, dedicated teams of officers from the roads safety unit and roads policing unit went out to ensure drivers were staying within the law.
The teams parked up in hot-spot locations to stop and test drivers between December 1 and January 1.
They also teamed up with neighbourhood teams to carry out intelligence-led patrols to target those suspected of drink-driving.
Police chiefs today slammed those dangerous drivers who risk their lives and others by continuing to get behind the wheel while over the limit.
Chief Inspector Sarah Pitt, of Northumbria Police’s Operations Command, said: “While the majority of motorists are clearly heeding the drink-drive message, it is disappointing to see that some still risk their lives and others’ lives by getting behind the wheel when they are under the influence.
“Those who have failed the breathalyser tests are facing a minimum of a year’s driving ban, a fine and big hikes in insurance premiums.
“This could have been avoided if they had made sensible plans such as booking a taxi or nominating a designated driver.”
During the 2010 Christmas campaign, more than 1,300 drivers were breathalysed.
Of those, more than six per cent – the equivalent of about 78 motorists – failed or refused to take the test.
Police are hoping this will serve as a warning to motorists thinking of boozing before getting behind the wheel.
Chief Insp Pitt added: “This activity doesn’t just take place at Christmas but all year round.
“We’ll continue to target those we suspect of drink-driving and make no apologies for the tough stance we take on it.”