SOUTHEND has been named as one of the UK’s hotspots for drink and drug driving as figures show 7.5 per cent of crashes include a driver under the influence. 

Data from Department for Transport ranked Southend as the tenth worst offending city in the country for drink and drug drivers being involved in crashes.

It comes as Wolverhampton was named as the “drink and drive capital of the UK” as 9.4 per cent of crashes in the area involved drivers who were under the influence.

The national average stands at five per cent, according to the figures. 

James Courtenay, Conservative councillor responsible for community safety and public protection, said: “It’s not good.

“To hear Southend is in the top ten in the UK is very disappointing.

“The clear message for residents and visitors to the city is to stop and think before getting behind the vehicle whilst under the influence because it could cause serious injury or worse.

“We’ve got two train lines, numerous bus stops and taxis for people to use when travelling, so there’s no excuse whatsoever.”

The legal limit is 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.

It comes after Essex Police revealed its roads policing officers arrested 296 drivers as part of its Christmas drink driver campaign - 142 for drink driving, 113 for drug driving and 41 for failing to provide a specimen.

Responding to the figures for Southend, a spokesman for Essex Police insisted the force is remaining to be tough on any drivers caught under the influence.

They said: “We’ll continue to enforce traffic legislation, investigate serious and fatal collisions and support victims of collisions.

“We’ll continue, where appropriate, to administer drink and drug roadside tests where we suspect drivers of offences and, subsequently, effect arrests.

“We’ll continue to disrupt criminal use of the road network and process traffic offences to put offenders before the courts.”