Cleveland Police find 29 drivers under the influence in Christmas drink drive stop checks

Credit: ITV News

More than 500 drivers have been stopped by police across Teesside since the start of December - with 29 motorists found to be under the influence.

Cleveland Police launched its drink and drug drive campaign on December 1 for the festive period.

The force has been urging drivers not to get behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Posters and beer mats with warnings to drivers about “dicing with death” if driving intoxicated are being distributed across pubs in the Cleveland area.

Chief Inspector Helen Wilson said: “We will continue with our educational messages throughout the festive period and into the New Year, as we see a seasonal rise in drink and drug driving when more people go out to socialise.

"We have stopped 516 drivers so far and whilst the majority of people have been law-abiding and have listened to our warnings, we will continue to carry out random stop checks on drivers in order to keep people as safe as we possibly can."

The force said that between 2016 and 2020, there were 235 collisions where people were injured and alcohol was judged to be a factor and a further 142 where drugs were judged to have been a factor.

The majority of those found to be driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs were aged between 17 and 34 years old, and more than three quarters were male.

Officers will spread educational messages about the dangers of driving under the influence throughout the month and will be carrying out random breath and drug tests on drivers.

Chf Insp Wilson added: “The last thing we want, especially at Christmas time, is someone who gets behind the wheel whilst under the influence who ends up killing themselves or other innocent people.

“There really is no safe way to combine alcohol, drugs and driving. I would urge anyone not to get behind the wheel if intoxicated, to ensure they protect themselves and those around them.”