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Booze Bus Operation: They're just not learning

NZ Police CommCens Alert 05:00 16-12-2007 Canterbury

Location of incident: Christchurch

Incident Type: Booze Bus Operation

Operation SCID

'They're just not learning!!'

171 Canterbury people will be appearing in court over the next month charged with drink driving offences.

Staff from Invercargill and Nelson assisted Canterbury Road Policing staff in operating four Booze Buses in and around Christchurch over the past three nights. It was a repeat of the same operation last year which saw 140 drunk drivers prosecuted from 25,000 drivers tested.

Canterbury Road Policing Manager, Inspector Derek Erasmus, said 'as with last year the aim was to remove as many drunk drivers as possible from the roads prior to the holiday session.'

'Officers said they just couldn't believe the number of drunk drivers there were on the roads!'

A series of checkpoints was operated including on the Northern Motorway, the Ring Road and Central City one way streets. 20,465 drivers were stopped and breath tested. As well as the drunk drivers, a stolen car with four occupants and a suspect for an aggravated assault were stopped.

Inspector Erasmus said 'it should be an increasing concern to the public that there are still this many people on our roads causing this high level of danger to other road users. They don't just kill and injure themselves, they also kill and injure the same number of innocent victims.'

'The best way Police can help to reduce the high number of people being caught is to increase the amount of breath testing carried out, and to push for a lowering of the blood alcohol limit. Based on international evidence, reducing our limit from .8 to .5 would significantly reduce the number of people killed or injured on our roads saving up to 9 lives a year on Canterbury roads.'

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The positives to come out of the operation were the large amount of support from public stopped at checkpoints, and the number of reports phoned into Police of suspected drunk drivers, including one public spirited driver who followed a car from Riccarton to rural Selwyn, then waited outside the address until Police from the city arrived. The suspected drunk driver was identified in his home and is being prosecuted.

The operation will continue over the coming week but with a different focus. However Inspector Erasmus said 'Police just don't do operations prior to Christmas, we do Booze Bus enforcement every week of the year. The public can expect to see us around a street corner near them sometime soon!'

Inspector Erasmus can be contacted from 0800 on Monday on 363 7417, or on Sunday through the Christchurch Central Operator on 363 7400 (after midday!!!)


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