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2 June 2014, 09:08
Cleveland and Durham Police kick off their summer drink and drug driving campaign this week.
This year's campaign coincides with the World Cup, when some fixtures are being shown late at night due to the time difference.
The main focus of the campaign, which takes place throughout June, will be those drivers who get into their car on a morning after drinking alcohol or taking drugs the night before, meaning that they could still be over the legal limit.
Footballers including former Middlesbrough, Manchester United and England star Gary Pallister, Hartlepool's Lewis Hawkins and Jordan Jowers, from the MFC Youth Academy team are backing the campaign.
Between 2009 and 2013, a total of 1,128 drivers aged 17 to 24 were involved in collisions between the hours of 5am and midday in the Durham and Cleveland force areas.
The 17-to-24 age group had the highest number of drivers who either failed a breath test, refused to provide a sample or were seen to be impaired.
Chief Inspector Alison Jackson, Head of the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit, told Heart:
"During the World Cup we understand that some people may want to enjoy a drink while watching the football, whether at home or in the pub.
"However, we are reminding those who may need to drive the next morning to be aware that they could still be over the legal limit and to take this into account when they are planning their journey.
"If you are found to be over the limit the next day you will be dealt with and prosecuted for the offence just as if you had got behind the wheel when intoxicated at the time. Driving in this state could easily lead to a serious or fatal crash because the driver is still affected from last night's alcohol. Our message is simple - don't risk it.
"It's great to have both Middlesbrough and Hartlepool on board and we really appreciate their support with our campaign."
Middlesbrough assistant head coach Craig Hignett said:
"My message to all football supporters is to leave the car keys at home if you go out and have a drink during the World Cup.
"Everyone is looking forward to the tournament and I'm sure the atmosphere will be terrific. Just don't get behind the wheel of a car after the games if you have been drinking.
"Alcohol can stay in the body for hours, so it's important not to risk driving the morning after when you may still be over the limit. Let's enjoy the football - and stay safe on the roads."