That’s the message from Northumbria Police after 171 drivers were arrested during the force’s festive period drink and drug-driving campaign.
The Christmas crackdown by officers saw over 1,200 vehicles stopped, 700 motorists breathalysed and a total of 171 drivers arrested for driving while under the influence or refusing a test.
Sergeant Glen Robson, from the Operation Dragoon team which helped to lead the campaign, was pleased to bring so many offenders to justice but concerned by the number of people risking their own and other motorists’ lives.
He said: “It’s great to see the success of the campaign but it shows drivers are still taking very dangerous risks on the roads.
“It shouldn’t be underestimated how even one drink can have an impact on your reaction times and your ability to drive safely without putting your life or others at risk.
“Drinking and driving, or taking drugs and getting behind the wheel is no joke.
“We’ve dealt with fatal incidents and incidents where people have had life changing injuries because people thought they would be okay to drive after one drink and it has come at the cost of someone’s life.”
The month-long crackdown saw an increase in officers from the Motor Patrols Department and Operation Dragoon team on our region’s roads, carrying out random stops and checks in a bid to tackle motorists driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
This type of enforcement is carried out all year round but targeted operations are carried out during busier social times of the year such as Christmas and New Year.
Sgt Robson added: “I can’t urge people enough to take this seriously and think before you drink. Leave your keys behind if you’re driving, get a taxi or public transport – no journey is worth a life.”
Anyone who has concerns regarding a drunk driver, or has related dash-cam footage to send to the police is urged to call 101 or report it via the Northumbria Police website’s Tell us Something page.
The most recently published Government statistics showed 230 people were killed in 2019 by accidents in the UK in which at least one driver was over the drink-drive limit.