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Weekend behaviour of Waikato drivers far from acceptable

Police say weekend behaviour of Waikato drivers far from acceptable

Monday, 1 September 2014 - 4:06pm

Describing a spike in the number of speeding and drunk drivers as atrocious, a senior Police officer says some of the Waikato's most vulnerable communities are being put at risk.

District Road Policing Manager, Inspector Freda Grace, said the results of preventative Police checkpoints were appalling no matter if you looked at rural or urban settings.

"On Friday morning our staff conducted a safety campaign, travelling to Matamata targeting seat belts and children's car restraints and unfortunately the results were far from pretty.

"There were 15 infringement notices issued for a lack of wearing seatbelts or using child restraints. Three drivers face action for using cell phones, while another five were stopped for failing to give way. Even more concerning was another driver who was stopped and processed for excess breath alcohol."

In addition another 44 drivers were processed for other offences, predominantly speeding.

"At the same time in Hamilton a Highway Patrol officer stopped a driver travelling at 141km/h on Cambridge Rd. The man had only been forbidden to drive two days earlier and as a result his vehicle was impounded and he was suspended from driving for 28 days.

"Another two motorists were found driving while disqualified and they also had their vehicles impounded."

Mrs Grace said about the only positive to come out of the weekend was a checkpoint held at Pirongia targeting speeders heading down to the ski fields via SH39.

"Of the dozens of motorists stopped, none had been drinking but a real worry was the number speeding, including one who had just flown into Auckland from Australia who was stopped doing 131km/h on the rural Paterangi Rd who had to be calmed down before he was allowed to continue on.

"Anyone who drives this road will tell you that such speeds really place people at risk."

Police were also concerned about drivers in Hamilton's CBD with seven being processed for excess breath alcohol on Friday night alone, however drunk drivers weren't just a City problem.

"On the same night two drivers were dealt with for the same offence in Paeroa as well as one in Morrinsville and another in Te Aroha while a suspended driver had his car impounded after driving at 147km/h on Awaiti Rd near Thames on Sunday.

"Police also intercepted a convoy of 15 cars driven by suspected boy racers after one driver was found travelling at 107km/h on a 50km/h stretch of Hamilton's Tuhikaramea Rd about 1am Sunday morning.

Mrs Grace said putting yourself and other road users at risk like this is simply unacceptable and Police will continue to take steps with partner agencies to remove the risks posed by such drivers.

"While any road fatality is a tragedy, those in smaller rural areas are all the more so because they can't be absorbed by the anonymity of a large population.

"Each death is more closely felt with first responders often knowing those involved and each person lost plays a pivotal role in their community be it in schools, sports teams or employment."

Mrs Grace said driving while drunk or at excessive speed was not only selfish but puts all road users at risk including members of your own families.

"People need to play their part in keeping Waikato roads safe and thankfully some already are.

"Following two calls from concerned members of the public on Saturday night; Police stopped a car on SH3 at Ohaupo about 9pm. On breath testing the 45-year-old driver the man returned a breath alcohol reading of 609mgms, the legal limit for a fully licensed adult driver is 400."

Mrs Grace said while information from the public such as this was appreciated, more needs to be done to engage people about becoming passionate about road safety.

"We're all road users, we all have loved ones travelling on our roads at any given time and the stakes are too high to do nothing.

"Police want to know what you are going to do to keep your roads safe?"


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