Monday, 16 March 2009 - 9:25am |
National News

Drunk drivers get attention

1 min read

Police have conducted over 20,000 breath tests along State Highway One from Picton to Bluff since early March, in an on-going operation targeting drunk drivers.

The highest breath-alcohol reading of 1,041 mg per litre of breath was recorded in the Tasman District, with 943 mg recorded in the Southern District. The legal limit is 400 mg per litre of breath.

"These levels of drunk driving are a major concern," says Inspector Hugh Flower, Road Policing Manager for Tasman District.

"Any driver with such a high reading is virtually incapable of anything, let alone driving a car, and presents a very clear danger to themselves and to others"

Six drunk drivers were recidivist offenders, one with five previous alcohol-related driving convictions, and another driver over the limit was stopped at the wheel of a house truck that was larger than the booze bus.

However, Mr Flower said the low total figure of 24 drivers found over the limit from all the stops offers some encouragement.

The operation also netted other types of offending including speeding, with drivers caught at 152 km/h and 160 km/h receiving immediate 28-day driver licence suspensions. One male driver was issued with a Traffic Offence Notice for his 30th driver licence breach.

The work was part of a wider traffic operation codenamed Tahi, a five-month exercise to improve safety along State Highway One in the South Island. Ending June 30th, Operation Tahi will cycle through phases targeting alcohol, speed, high-risk and dangerous driving, seat belts, and commercial and heavy vehicles.