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1 December 2014, 06:00
Think before you drink - that's the message from Northumbria Police over the festive period.
As part of the force's road safety Operation Dragoon, officers are urging people not to be tempted to drink and drive during Christmas and New Year.
Those who do are being warned they're risking their own and others' lives by getting behind the wheel while under the influence.
From December 1, the force launches a month-long crackdown on drink driving and all drivers involved in crashes during December will be breath tested, as well as those who have committed a moving road traffic offence such as speeding and people suspected of drink driving or attempting to drive after consuming alcohol.
Additional breath tests will be carried out by Motor Patrols officers alongside their normal observations of motorists.
Officers are also working closely with Neighbourhood Policing Teams to conduct intelligence-led patrols to target those suspected of drink driving with information being fed in by various sources, including the community.
The activity forms part of the force's road safety campaign Operation Dragoon which has been running since earlier this year and is aimed at making the roads safer for everyone.
Motor Patrols Chief Inspector John Heckels said:
"Drink driving wrecks lives. Innocent people are killed at the hands of drink drivers and we are committed to doing all we can to make sure the roads are safe for everyone over the festive period.
"Our message to anyone thinking about drink driving this December is 'think before you drink'.
"Throughout the month officers from the force's motor patrols team will be carrying out breath tests, and using information from our communities, to target those suspected of drink driving so we can stop them before there are any serious consequences from their thoughtless actions. "
"For this campaign to work we need the public's help and we need people to tell us who the drink drivers are so we can take action. Reporting a drink driver could help to save lives and make a real difference out on the roads."
The initiative is being backed by Northumbria's Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird. She said:
"Christmas time is traditionally about people getting together and celebrating the festive season with friends, family and work colleagues. Amongst all of the fun, there is an underlining serious message of staying safe and not to drink and drive."
"Those people who decide to get behind the wheel of a car to drive home, aren't only risking their own life but those of innocent people - who could through no fault of their own, be seriously injured or even killed by a drink-driver."
"We advise people that if a car does need to be driven as part of the evening's procedures, then to have a sober designated driver to take people home. Alternatively there are plenty of accessible modes of public transport on-hand once the festivities have ended. "
"We always stress to people it is really important that they think before they drink."