Seventeen drivers arrested in Christmas drink-drive crackdown

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POLICE have arrested 17 drivers on suspicion of being drunk since the beginning of the month.

The city lies second, behind Newcastle with 19 arrests, in the league of shameful drivers caught drinking.

In total, across the Northumbria force area, officers have made 77 arrests.

As festive celebrations get into full swing, police are again warning drivers about getting behind the wheel, even if they have not had a drink that day.

Research carried by road safety charity Brake found that more than half of young drivers and over a third of older motorists are risking lives by driving first thing in the morning after drinking a lot the night before.

Motor Patrols Chief Inspector George Maratty said: “We are making arrests for drink driving where the offenders haven’t touched a drop of alcohol since the night before.

“We hear the same story time and time again that the person who has been caught driving over the limit had a few drinks the night before but thought they would be fine the next morning.

“This assumption is a costly one and is plainly wrong. People think that sleeping, eating something or drinking coffee helps sober you up, however, the only thing that gets rid of the alcohol in your system is time.”

Police have arrested nine people in South Tyneside and 12 in Gateshead since launching their annual drink-drive campaign.