PICTURES: Emergency services test skills in South Tyneside accident exercise

Reconstruction of a multi-vehicle road crash to highlight the dangers of drink-driving.
Reconstruction of a multi-vehicle road crash to highlight the dangers of drink-driving.

Emergency services were scrambled after a drink- driver caused a six-car pile up which left a number of people injured.

Thankfully, the accident, in Laygate Street, South Shields, yesterday was just a reconstruction, and aimed at encouraging drivers to stay safe over the festive season.

Reconstruction of a multi-vehicle road crash to highlight the dangers of drink-driving.

Reconstruction of a multi-vehicle road crash to highlight the dangers of drink-driving.

For Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) crews and Northumbria Police, accident scenes like this are a reality they deal with regularly.

The exercise also gave fire crews a chance to practice their skills – including cutting doors and roofs from cars.

Fire and police chiefs are hoping the images will make motorists take extra care while out on the roads.

Graham Smith, group manager for TWFRS, said: “The purpose of the event is not only to show the dangers of drink-driving.

We don’t want people to end up in situations like this.

Sgt Paul McIntosh

“It’s also a valuable training exercise which allows us to work in collaboration with the other emergency services

“Obviously our main aim is to get on site, to make the area safe and to enable the paramedics to gain assesses to the casualties.

“We deal with road traffic collisions like this on a daily basis, but even a minor shunt can sometimes have devastating results.”

He added: “This gives the public a chance to see the damage that can be caused, and also how difficult and time consuming it can be for us to rescue people.”

Reconstruction of a multi-vehicle road crash to highlight the dangers of drink-driving.

Reconstruction of a multi-vehicle road crash to highlight the dangers of drink-driving.

Sgt Paul McIntosh, from Northumbria Police’s motor patrols department, said he was pleased with how well the public is responding to the force’s festive drink- driving campaign.

Since the start of the month, only 90 arrests have been made in the force area of drivers suspected to have been drinking.

Sgt McIntosh said: “I think, at last, people are getting the message about how serious drink-driving is and we want to thank the public for that.

“We now regularly have members of the public ringing us up to report people who they believe to have been drink-driving.

Reconstruction of a multi-vehicle road crash to highlight the dangers of drink-driving.

Reconstruction of a multi-vehicle road crash to highlight the dangers of drink-driving.

“Across the force this year so far we’ve only made 90 arrests in relation to drink-driving, I think it’s finally hitting home.

“We want people to have a good time at Christmas, but we don’t want them to be reckless and to end up in a situation like this.”

Reconstruction of a multi-vehicle road crash to highlight the dangers of drink-driving.

Reconstruction of a multi-vehicle road crash to highlight the dangers of drink-driving.