Traffic cops from across the region are urging people to drive sober as they take part in a national drink and drug drive campaign.
The campaign is being led by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and runs from June 24 to July 7.
It comes after 1,575 people were arrested for driving while under the influence of drink or drugs in Durham and Cleveland between June last year and May this year.
Of those, 83 per cent were male and 17 per cent were female, while those aged between 26 and 35 accounted for 39 per cent of the total arrests.
Across the region during 2018, 168 people were injured in a collision in which someone was impaired by alcohol or drugs.
Inspector Jonathan Malcolm, of Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit, said: “Worryingly, we are seeing an increase in the number of drug driving casualties across the region.
“We continue to warn people against the dangers of drink and drug driving but unfortunately, as these figures show, there is still a significant number of people who seem to think they can take risks with their lives and the lives of others by driving under the influence.
“The consequences of drink and drug driving can be catastrophic. Drivers who combine drugs and alcohol before getting behind the wheel of a car are 23 times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision than sober drivers.
“These are stark and shocking figures, but ones we hope to hammer home to drivers during this campaign. Our advice would be, as always, do not drink or drug drive – your actions could kill.”
During the campaign, staff from the joint unit will carry out random stop checks on vehicles and breath testing.
Officers will also be promoting alcohol interlocks, which stop drivers from starting their vehicles if they are over the alcohol limit.
The cutting-edge devices are commonplace in countries such as the USA and Denmark and mean a driver must pass a breath test before they begin their car. Each device has a built in camera to record who is providing the sample of breath.
Durham Constabulary has been working with Smart Start, one of the world’s leading providers of alcohol interlocks, to fit them to vehicles on a voluntary basis.
Anyone who would like to have one fitted free of charge should call 0191 375 2078 Monday to Friday, between 8am and 3pm, or email [email protected]
Applicants must hold a current UK driving licence and not be disqualified from driving.