A high number of recidivist drink drivers being caught in the Western Bay of Plenty is alarming police.
Officers are frequently stopping people who have more than three convictions for drink driving, says officer in charge of the traffic alcohol group Sergeant Mark Duytshoff.
Police are concerned at the number of repeat drink drivers. Photo: file.
Jail is the sentence of first option facing drivers appearing in court on their third or subsequent drink driving charge.
“They are continuing to get behind the wheel after drinking too much.”
The number of recidivist drink drivers increased from 21 per cent in 2008/2009 to 37 per cent in 2013/2014.
“Every year we run Operation Profile from October to January and we are seeing that people are limiting themselves before getting behind the wheel.”
Mark says another concerning trend to police is the number of young people driving their drunk friends home without the appropriate driver’s licence.
“Arranging to have a sober driver is cool. I can’t argue with that, but the problem is they have a learner licence. From the crash statistics, learner drivers are far more likely to be involved in a crash.
“People just need to make other arrangements before heading out. Enjoy the night by all means; but make sure you make it home safe.”
While repeat drink drivers and learners drivers are concerning to police, Mark congratulates people who have made a conscious effort to not get behind the wheel intoxicated.
He says the general drink driving trend in the Western Bay of Plenty is on the decline with the number of people caught by police in the last five years dropping.
“When I first started in the unit in 2006, officers would do passive breath tests – and nine times out of 10 the testing would end in someone being arrested for drink driving.
“Now you can do the same thing and the person has blown under the limit. It’s amazing.
“We are doing more breath testing on the roadside and getting less people.”
He commends people for making sure they aren’t driving drunk.