Almost 80 motorists who drank and drove have been caught by police this month.
Officers have now issued a sobering message to anyone considering drink-driving this Christmas, by revealing just how many innocent lives have been lost because of over-the-limit drivers.
Between 2008 and 2012, 23 people were killed in Tyne & Wear and Northumberland by drink drivers.
And Northumbria Police’s Motor Patrols Chief Insp George Maratty is today urging drivers to think about those 23 families who will not be able to spend Christmas with their loved ones.
“This time of the year is all about spending time with friends, family and the people you care about.
“It’s about making memories and sharing the holidays with those that you love,” he said.
“Thanks to the reckless actions of drink-drivers, there will be 23 empty spaces in homes across the Northumbria area this year.
“When someone drinks too much their reactions get slower, their thinking becomes impaired and making decisions becomes much more difficult. Combine this with the added challenge of controlling a vehicle, in often poor weather conditions, and you have the potential for a disaster.
“Drink-driving kills innocent people. It’s as simple as that.
“Think before you drink, think of what might happen if you get into your vehicle and you’re over the limit. The consequences could be devastating for you and for others.”
Since December 1, Northumbria Police has been running a month-long crackdown on drink-driving and all drivers involved in crashes this month have been breath tested, as well as those who have committed a moving road traffic offence such as speeding, careless driving or using their mobile phone behind the wheel.
As of December 17, there have been 77 arrests for drink-driving across the Northumbria Police force area.
These are made-up of 17 in Sunderland, nine in South Tyneside, 12 in Gateshead, eight in North Tyneside, 19 in Newcastle and 12 in Northumberland.
Chief Insp Maratty is now urging everyone to play their role, and possibly save lives, by reporting anyone they suspect of drink-driving immediately.
“If you see someone over the limit and driving then please don’t delay in reporting this to the police.
“If a friend, family member or colleague is considering driving after drinking too much then stop them or ring the 999 emergency number.
“Your call could be the difference between life and death.”
Anyone who suspects anyone of drink driving should contact Northumbria Police motor patrols on 101 ext 69191 or 999 in an emergency.