12 local drivers caught in booze bus sting

By Staff reporter

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UPDATED 11.12am: The Tauranga phase of the operation was done of Friday, with checkpoints in the Papamoa, Mt Maunganui, and Tauranga CBD areas using mobile units, two 'booze buses' and more than 25 staff.


More than 1500 people were breath-tested with 12 subsequently being processed for drink-driving. A number of which also had their licences immediately suspended and vehicles impounded.


Sergeant Mark Duytshoff, officer in charge of the Western Bay Of Plenty Traffic Alcohol Group, said the timing of the operation at the beginning of the festive season was no coincidence and was part of Operation Profile, the wider Western Bay of Plenty Alcohol operation which began on October 17 and runs through to January 13, 2013.


"It's a reminder that with summer approaching in addition to the festive season ahead of us, we will all be going out and having a good time and that's fine but if we are going to be drinking everyone needs to make transport arrangements before they head out.


"Remember it's simply not worth the risk of injuring yourself, your passengers or innocent members of the public for the cost of a taxi fare or inconveniencing friends or family."


Road safety was everyone's responsibility, Mr Duytshoff said.


"Remember, drivers can expect to be breath tested any time and anywhere. Don't drive after drinking alcohol or taking drugs - it's simply not worth the risk."


 


EARLIER: Waikato police say too many Bay of Plenty drivers are getting behind the wheel drunk or in breach of their graduated driver's licences.


A combined drink-driving operation was held over the weekend which saw police from Waikato travel to Tauranga and Taupo to hold several alcohol checkpoints.


Officer in charge of Operation Jackson, Sergeant Grant Houston of the Waikato Traffic Alcohol Group, said about 40 staff carried out an alcohol focused operation on Friday and Saturday nights.


"On Friday night Waikato staff travelled over to Taupo and Tauranga while on Saturday night Bay of Plenty officers came over to conduct a number of alcohol checkpoints in and around Hamilton.


"Disappointingly, despite officers setting up their checkpoints during daylight hours as a deterrent, of the 5140 drivers stopped 45 are now facing court action or awaiting the results of blood tests for excess breath or blood alcohol."


Mr Houston said eight drivers had their licences suspended for returning breath alcohol results over 650mgms, the legal alcohol limit for a fully licensed driver is 400mgms.


"Operation Jackson is a prevention based activity conducted at the beginning of each summer designed to saturate areas with a highly visible policing presence to encourage the anti-drink driving message.


"When you consider we stopped over 5000 drivers, if they tell 10 friends and they tell 10 friends then the message the police can be out there, any where and at any time tarts sinking in. Unfortunately the 45 drivers in question either didn't get the message or chose to ignore it." Another concerning trend for police was young or inexperienced drivers ignoring the restrictions of their graduated driver's licences.


"During the course of Friday and Saturday nights several young drivers were found out driving after 10pm, often carrying passengers. The restrictions of graduated drivers licences are in place to help vulnerable drivers gain experience on the roads and if they are found breaching them they can expect the Police to take action."

 

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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