Over 3,000 drivers were stopped during a major policing operation in Central District this evening (Friday, 18 December) and not one was found to be over the drink drive limit.
Operation Monty took place on State Highway 1 between 3pm and 7pm at Ohakea with around 40 police officers stopping and breath-screening all drivers. Checks were also made for vehicle safety faults and other infringements such as issues with registrations, warrants of fitness, worn tyres, and so on.
A total of 3,042 drivers were stopped. Alcohol was detected on 14 drivers but full breath screening test showed that none of them were over the legal limit.
One 47-year-old driver from Lower Hutt will be summonsed to court for driving while forbidden. His car was impounded for 28 days and he will also have to pay the fee for towing and storing the vehicle.
Senior Sergeant Kris Burbery said: "We're delighted with the results. Testing that many people and not finding anyone breaching the drink-drive laws always give us hope that people are listening to the safety messages. At this time of year our main aim is remind drivers of the rules of the road and hopefully ensure that every member of the family reaches their destination and is sitting safely around the dinner table on Christmas Day."
What was of concern was the number of out-of-date warrants of fitness. 71 infringement notices were issued, the majority for out-of-date warrants. Three vehicles were so badly defective that they had to be ordered off the road.
"Drivers have to remember that warrants aren't just about having a sticker in your window," said Senior Sergeant Kris Burbery. "They are tests to make sure your vehicle is safe. A warrant of fitness is less that $50, the fine for not having one is $200 and the consequences of an unsafe car causing a crash could be lethal."
Highway patrol officers were supported by the Central District Traffic Alcohol Group (Booze Bus), the Commercial Vehicle Investigation Unit (CVIU) and officers from Police National Headquarters.
Several key road safety partners - ACC, St John Ambulance, Road Safe Central, New Zealand Fire Service from Bulls, and Higgins Contractors - were also involved. Bottles of water and packs of roads safety advice were handed out to drivers and Plunket were on hand to check that all children were safely restrained.
Senior Sergeant Burbery said: "We try to keep delays for drivers to a minimum and overall the response was very positive with many praising staff for trying to keep the roads safe."
Road safety operations will continue throughout the festive season and beyond, so motorists are reminded that they could be stopped at any time. All drivers stopped by police will be breath-tested.
The key road safety messages are:
• Prepare your vehicle for any travelling - make sure it is roadworthy
• Allow plenty of time to get to your destination - we would rather you get there early than not at all
• Keep to the speed limits
• Don't drink and drive
• Don't drive tired - take plenty of breaks
• Buckle up
• Don't use mobile phones whilst driving
• Remember road safety is everyone's responsibility