Monday, 18 December 2006 - 4:01pm |

Drivers flaunt Christmas spirit

2 min read

A disappointing number of people in the Wellington Police District are taking the Christmas spirit to excess and driving while intoxicated.

Senior Sergeant Doug Rowan, officer in charge of the Wellington Police District road policing unit, says 45 people are likely to face drink driving prosecutions after being stopped by patrols in the last seven days.

Results from the district-wide Operation December Safe show that last week 5875 vehicles were stopped and tested with passive breath screening devices. A total of 231 drivers tested had consumed alcohol and of these, 32 drivers will face prosecution for excess breath alcohol and a further 13 drivers face possible prosecution following the blood sample analysis.

"The high number of drink drivers caught is really disappointing given the publicity promoting safe and sober safe driving behaviours," Senior Sergeant Rowan says.

The highest evidential test recorded last week was in Tinakori Road, Thorndon, when a man was stopped, tested and found to be driving with 1337 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath - more than three times above the 400mcg limit.

One driver was stopped twice by police in the Porirua area on Friday night. He tested positive for excess breath alcohol, was forbidden to drive and had the keys to his vehicle taken from him. Later in the evening he was stopped for the second time. He'd found a spare set of keys and returned to his vehicle - and was again found to be over the limit.

Another driver tried to avoid a checkpoint near Plimmerton, was chased and stopped with the use of road spikes near Pukerua Bay.

A drink-drive and boy racer operation in Lower Hutt on Thursday night found 12 drivers with excess breath alcohol and a further five facing possible action after blood test analysis. Four vehicles were also impounded under the Boy Racer legislation.

An operation in central Wellington on Saturday night kept officers busy at a Vivian Street checkpoint when 12 excess breath alcohol tests were recorded in three hours and six blood alcohol samples taken.

One vehicle was also impounded under the Boy Racer legislation, and 20 infringement notices and 14 traffic offence notices issued.

Senior Sergeant Rowan urges people to be more responsible on the roads, especially with the expected volume of traffic leaving the capital at the end of this week.

"Drive to arrive alive," he says. "Plan your journey, be patient and take some regular breaks."

He says extra police patrols will be on the roads over the holiday periods helping to keep traffic moving.

"Thirty one people have died on Wellington region roads in 27 fatal crashes this year," he says. "Don't make your next journey be your last."