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Hutt Valley Drink-Drive Attitude Disappoints

Hutt Valley Drink-Drive Attitude Disappoints Police

11 November 2007

Too many people think they can drink, drive and get away with it, say Lower Hutt Police.

Saturday night's anti drink-drive operation in the Hutt Valley resulted in 22 people detected driving with excess breath alcohol. A further 4 people elected to have blood tests taken which will determine whether or not they will also face court action.

Inspector Mike Hill, Lower Hutt Police and commander of Operation Weave, says police are very disappointed at the high number of intoxicated drivers they caught.

"Drunk drivers are risking their lives and the lives of others," he says. "We need to see more responsibility from drivers, especially as we head into the busy festive season."

Wellington District'sTraffic Alcohol Group, Highway Patrol officers and staff from Lower Hutt Police's road policing and general duties sections were involved in Saturday night's operation which ran from 10pm to 7am today, Sunday, 11 November.

Mobile patrols throughout the valley targeted motorists in the early part of the evening. A checkpoint, involving all staff, was set up between Ngauranga and Petone on State Highway 2 from 2am to 7am stopping over 1300 drivers who were entering Lower Hutt from Wellington.

Inspector Hill says the results of the night's operation paint a disturbing picture of poor attitude to road safety.

The results included:

• 1377 number of vehicles stopped• 22 excess breath alcohol• 4 evidential blood samples taken including one after a crash when car hit a power pole• 17 of the drivers processed were under 25 years old• 838 highest breath testing level • 1 vehicle impound• 1 driver arrested for breaching his bail conditions• A 17 year old driver, over the legal limit but did not hold a drivers licence. His driving ability has never been tested.

The pleasing part of the night was the large number of people who are taking a taxi from Wellington to the Hutt Valley and the number who have sober drivers.

Inspector Hill says a recent Public Attitudes to Road Safety Survey highlighted that less than 50 percent of drivers now believe they will be stopped at a checkpoint, the lowest level since 1999. The number of drink drive prosecutions nationally is increasing, along with alcohol related crashes.

"People are mistaken if they think they can drink, drive and get away it," he says. "Our message is simple. If you drink and drive you will be caught."

There needs to be extra vigilance in the build up to Christmas. Practical steps to take include:

• host responsibility. If you're organising a function, make sure it includes safe transport home for those attending

• ensure alcohol free drinks are available and people eat

• appoint a sober driver for the evening

• plan ahead and leave your car or motorbike at home if you're going to be drinking• use public transport

• look after your mates.

ENDS

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