LAWFUEL.co.nz – NZ Legal Jobs & Legal News – Police are extremely disappointed with the number of drivers apprehended for drink-driving in last night’s fourth nationwide operation targeting drunken and drugged drivers. They stopped more than 52,000 vehicles between 1800 and 0600 hours on Friday night and Saturday morning, with 335 drivers facing prosecution for drink-driving. The Operations Manager for Road Policing at Police National Headquarters, Inspector Carey Griffiths, said that all Police Districts had again joined forces for this operation, with all available police manning checkpoints and conducting mobile breath tests.
Inspector Griffiths said the first operation in 2007 breath-tested over 43,000 drivers nationally and also resulted in more than 350 facing prosecution. The second in July 2007 tested over 26,760 drivers, resulting in 278 facing prosecution; and the third in November tested 28,000 drivers with 200 facing prosecution.
This latest operation tested over 52,000 drivers with 335 facing prosecution.
Inspector Griffiths said that in the four nationwide operations this year, not including figures from local District operations, police had stopped almost 150,000 cars with 1163 drivers facing prosecution for drink-driving. “Those figures alone indicate that for every 1,000 cars we stop, approximately eight are driven by drunk drivers” he said, “and these rates simply continue.”
Police said that for every 100 drunk drivers or riders killed in road crashes there are 55 of their passengers and another 35 sober road users who die with them. Inspector Griffiths said that “while there are always issues with some recidivists, the majority of those stopped are at lower levels and simply don’t see themselves as a problem, despite being significantly more at risk of a fatal crash.”
He said New Zealand’s legal blood alcohol limit of 80mg (400 micrograms for breath) meant drivers at that level were 16 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than a sober driver, and that in 2006, alcohol and drugs played a part in almost a third of all fatal crashes. The majority of OECD countries with better road safety records than New Zealand, including Australia and Europe, had all shown significant reductions in alcohol-related crashes and fatalities when they set their levels at 50mg.
Police advise that major operations targeting drink driving will continue.
Some Localised Stories
At 0050hrs on 15 December a car tried to evade a Police patrol on King Edward Street by switching its lights out and accelerating at speed into Wilkie Road. The driver failed to take a righthand bend where Wilkie Road turns into Neville Street and ran his vehicle into the gutter. A 27-year-old male was processed and blew 891mcg. He was also charged with dangerous driving. His licence was suspended.
At 0250hrs Police pursued a vehicle after it failed to stop following a speed check. The vehicle was travelling at 96km/h The vehicle accelerated up to 150km/h, travelling south on Andersons Bay Road. It crashed at into a traffic light pole at the intersection of Andersons Bay Road and Macandrew Road. The 18-year-old driver decamped and was located nearby. He was processed for drink driving.
A Scottish tourist approached the checkpoint on Frankton Road at an estimated speed of 80km/h. When signalled to stop he swerved to avoid police and failed to stop. He was pursued for a short distance before pulling over. He blew 759 mcg’s and was subsequently arrested for drink driving and failing to stop. His licence was suspended for 28 days.
A male driver being processed for drink driving called his wife to come and collect him. She, however, had also been drinking, and both now will appear in Court as a result.
Key Messages for Drink-Drive Operations
November – December 2007
1. Drink driving levels have begun rising and prosecutions have been increasing by around 1,000 per year.
2. Alcohol-related injury crashes have been increasing and recently, the number of dead drunk drivers has also risen.
3. Alcohol surveys show that drink-drive rates have risen from 0.7% of late night drivers (2200 – 0200 Friday and Saturday nights) in 2004 to 0.9% in 2006 – a statistically significant increase.
4. Public Attitudes to Road Safety Survey has highlighted that less than 50% of drivers believe it is likely they will be stopped at a checkpoint.
5. Alcohol has a big effect on the way people drive. In fact, if you drink and drive (with a blood alcohol level over 80mg per 100ml) you are sixteen times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than a sober driver.
6. At 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, a driver is about sixteen times as likely to be involved in a fatal crash as the same driver with a zero blood alcohol level.
7. For every 100 drunk drivers or riders killed in road crashes there are 55 of their passengers and another 35 sober road users who die with them.
8. Alcohol-related injury crashes peak between the hours of 1800 and 0400 on Friday and Saturday nights and this why these operations are conducted during these hours.
9. The first operation in 2007 breath tested over 43,000 drivers nationally and also resulted in more that 350 facing prosecution.
10. The second in July 2007 tested over 26,760 drivers, resulting in 236 prosecutions and a further 42 blood tests.
11. The third in November stopped 28,000 vehicles, resulting in 200 prosecutions
12. The current operations are intended to target drink driving behaviours prior to the high risk period over Christmas.
For further information contact the Police pager 026 101 082 or Road Policing Communications Manager Lesley Wallis 027 220 9752.
For more information on localised stories, contact the Police District concerned.