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Repeat Drink Drivers On The Rise

A regional forum on repeat drink drivers is being held in Manukau City on Friday 15 June 2001 as a first step to discuss plans to address increases in repeat drink driving offenders.

Waitakere/North Shore Police District Commander, Superintendent Alistair Beckett says that “The percentage of male repeat drink drive offenders over 20 yrs of age within the Auckland region is now nearly 45% of all such drivers caught over the limit. The message by and large has got through to the general public, but we are finding an increasing number of male drunk drivers who believe they are immune from harm and the law.”

Repeat drink drivers generally have higher alcohol levels and continue to drink and drive despite going through the justice system many times, so he supports moves to target these people. “We need new initiatives to change the behaviour of repeat drink drivers because our experience is that repeat drink drivers are more intoxicated than first time offenders and are not put off by having to appear in court”, says Superintendent Beckett.

Although the level of alcohol related road deaths and crashes has dropped in the last year, there is some evidence that a small minority of mainly male drivers are continuing to cause havoc in the weekends and late at night. “Repeat drink drivers are more likely to be involved in an alcohol-related crash and as a small group of drivers cause a dis-proportionate number of all alcohol-related crashes”, says Peter Kippenberger, Regional Manager for the Land Transport Safety Authority.

Auckland Regional Council Councillor Les Paterson who is chairing the regional forum on repeat drink driving says that the key to addressing this issue will be greater inter-agency collaboration that focuses on behaviour change amongst high-risk drink drivers. “High-risk drink-drivers require intensive interventions and continual monitoring of their behaviour in order to effect lasting behavioural change. They come into contact with many different agencies who all have a part to play.”

RoadSafe Auckland is using the regional forum to commence consultation on comprehensive guidelines and other resources to support the work of the varied professionals working with repeat drink drivers.

Police are increasing their efforts to identify and prosecute repeat drink drivers for their high-risk behaviour and there are now a wide range of sanctions available for trying to prevent repeat drink drivers from being on the road, such as vehicle impoundment, licence disqualification, fines and imprisonment.

Vehicle impoundment appears to be encouraging disqualified drivers to seek re-instatement of their licence, and this is an area where road safety agencies see merit in adding incentives for repeat drink drivers to complete appropriate education and treatment programmes.

End

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