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Motorists urged to do the right thing this holiday period


Police in Auckland are extremely disappointed by the number of people choosing to drink and drive, and are urging people to make appropriate plans if they are drinking alcohol leading into the holiday period.

Tomorrow - the Friday before Christmas - is one of the worst days of the year for drink-driving, and Police will be out in force breath testing people to ensure they aren’t behind the wheel tipsy or drunk.

Police, alongside Auckland Transport staff, have already been conducting multiple checkpoints throughout the region over the past two weekends.

The results, and the number of people driving while under the influence of alcohol, are disappointingly high.

In Counties Manukau alone, more than 15,700 vehicles have been stopped and tested, with 168 people being processed for alcohol related driving offences.

97 of those will be appearing before the courts in the coming weeks on alcohol related charges.

Alarmingly, a large number of the 168 were several times over the legal limit.

Tāmaki Makaurau Road Policing Manager Inspector Scott Webb says the figures are very concerning, and there is absolutely no excuse for motorists to be drinking to excess and then driving.

He says he acknowledges people are heading out to celebrate with friends and will be attending after-work parties, but Police’s priority is ensuring people are safe and get to their destinations safely.

“This isn’t about people choosing to drink, but about people choosing to do so without making appropriate plans to get themselves home safely,” he says.

“Many people appear to be putting others at risk by failing to plan and driving under the influence of alcohol.”

He says alcohol is a huge contributing factor in crashes, making up around 29 per cent of all death and serious injury crashes.

In the 2017/2018 official holiday road period there were 11 fatal crashes and 329 reported injury crashes throughout the country.

“That year 11 people lost their lives on our roads throughout the country. That’s 11 people who won’t be with their loved ones this year and an even greater number who will be living with the consequence and tragedy of someone being killed on our roads,” he says.

“We will do whatever it takes to keep motorists safe on our roads over the busy summer period.

The public can expect that we will be highly visible on the roads during the holidays and we make no apologies for working to keep our roads safe, and that includes breath-testing drivers for alcohol.”

Tomorrow Auckland Transport will be making travel on buses, trains and some ferries free from 4pm.

Inspector Scott Webb says the 'Home Free' initiative gives people the opportunity to enjoy an after work drink and ensure they get home safely, and urges people to take up the opportunity and leave their cars at home.

Police are planning to maintain their high visibility activities across Tāmaki Makaurau in the lead up to and throughout the busy holiday period.

“We urge everyone to take responsibility for their actions and plan prior to celebrating to ensure they are not driving under the influence this holiday period.”

ENDS

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