Police crackdown on drink drivers
Sat, 08 Sep 2012 6:05p.m.
By Amanda Gillies
Auckland police called to an accident on the Northern Motorway early this morning found nine teenagers in a VW Golf, including one in the boot. They were heading to a party on the North Shore.
Three people, including the female driver, were taken to hospital with minor injuries.
It came just hours after a major joint operation between Auckland and Waikato police, targeting drivers on State Highway 1 near Mercer.
A 70-year-old driver was caught over the limit, but was underwhelmed by the police presence.
He says he got behind the wheel because he was “going back to watch the rugby…right back in the country”.
He wasn't alone. One driver blew nearly twice the legal limit. They were among the many picked up by Waikato and Auckland police in the joint operation last night.
Lewis Harvey had a suitcase full of booze, but no way to get to the party after the unregistered car he was in was impounded. At the checkpoint, the 18-year-old had swapped seats with his driver, who was already disqualified from driving and had been drinking.
“I can't drive manual,” says Mr Harvey. “The only way to get to a party down in Hamilton is to get him to drive for us [even though he is disqualified and had some drinks]. Yep, it's silly. But I don't know.”
His 19-year-old mate flouted the law one more time before they hitched a ride south with a truck driver. But before they set off, he left another splash on the grass and bade us a fond farewell.
William Sperry was also looking for a ride back to Hamilton. He instantly lost his licence and his family's only car, which was unregistered. He had opted to drive while suspended because his wife had been drinking.
“This could put me into bankruptcy slash out on the street on my ear,” he says.
Police chased down a 36-year-old drink driver in a stolen Nissan Skyline. It was picked up by the Automatic Number Plate Recognition System. The driver initially tried to escape.
“He pulled into a parking spot, pulled over and put his hands in the air and just stopped,” says Sergeant Pete Marriott. “There were three people in the vehicle. They were all arrested and the driver was found to be heavily intoxicated.”
The driver, who knew the car was stolen, had just picked up a female hitchhiker. She was fine.
Police targeted the stretch of highway in a bid to reduce the road toll. There have been 28 fatalities in the Waikato alone this year, 17 of them have been on state highways. The most recent was just a week ago.
Even one of the country's most experienced police officers was put to the test in the operation.
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9/09/2012 8:33:25 p.m.
James J.Read wrote:
Before we celebrate this event, it is worthwhile considering how many drunk or drugged drivers were on the road and who were not detected.
9/09/2012 7:10:59 p.m.
It's not just about uppping the penalties but it is also about enforcing them too where the judges are at times quite leniant on repeat drink drivers!
9/09/2012 8:53:06 a.m.
Message isnt getting through. Doesnt matter what age. Teens brains arent developed enough to make the right choices all the time. Older drivers choose not to make the right choices. Up the drinking age and up the penalties.
9/09/2012 8:17:34 a.m.
Fair NZer wrote:
Perhaps check on influence of DRUGS as well...
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