BEER and cider lovers in the North East are being warned that overindulging in the summer sunshine could leave them unfit to drive the next day.
Launching a month long anti-drink drive campaign Northumbria, Durham and Cleveland police said June is the second worst month for alcohol related crashes and motorists need to think before getting behind the wheel – even hours after they stop drinking.
Inspector Ed Turner, of Durham Police, said: “One of the main messages we would like to get across is the amount of time alcohol takes to leave your system. Many people think they are ok to drive the morning after having a drink, but are completely unaware of the fact that, for example even three 250ml glasses of wine will take at least 13 hours to leave your bloodstream.
“This means that if you have your last glass of wine at 10pm you should not think of driving until at least 11am the next day.”
The campaign will include random stop checks of vehicles, breath testing of any driver committing a traffic offence or involved in a collision and of anyone suspected of drinking alcohol.
Northumbria Police chief inspector George Maratty said: “Northumbria Police will not tolerate drink driving. We are committed to doing all we can to put a stop to it and throughout June any motorist stopped at any time by a police officer could be required to provide a specimen of breath or take a drug test.
“We know the vast majority of drivers are sensible but will be targeting those who decide to chance it and take a risk. Anyone found in charge of a motor vehicle and over the limit will be arrested.
“We don’t want to stop people enjoying their summer but our message is very clear- if you are having a drink then leave the car at home.
“Motorists should plan ahead and if they know they’re going to be having a drink they should make arrangements to get home in advance. People should book a taxi or nominate a designated driver and avoid the temptation of getting behind the wheel while under the influence.”
Officers will also be handing out leaflets reminding drivers of the law and of the consequences of being convicted for drink-driving.
“In terms of the overall number of drink-related collisions, we are seeing a downward trend over the last few years,” said Inspector Turner, “and this is obviously encouraging, but we cannot be complacent when so many people are still being injured or killed because of the actions of motorists who are over the limit.”
“I would urge people to watch the amount they are drinking and not put themselves, or other road-users at risk.”
In 2012 four people died, 20 were seriously hurt and 135 suffered minor injuries in drink-related road traffic collisions on Durham and Cleveland roads.
But over the last four years June has been second only to October when it comes to the number of crashes in the area, with the peak times for drink-drive incidents midnight to 1am on weekends, and 8 to 9pm on weekdays.