Drink drive blitz nets 15 offenders

By Genevieve Helliwell

More than a dozen drink-drivers were caught on Western Bay roads over the weekend in a trans-Tasman police blitz against alcohol-fuelled crime and crashes.

Between Friday and Sunday in the sixth Operation Unite, police across Australia and New Zealand focused on alcohol and driving, local Bay police stopping 1828 drivers and catching 15 who tested higher than the legal breath alcohol limit.

Police also issued 43 infringement notices, one non-operation order (a green-sticker) and impounded two vehicles. Five other drivers were forbidden to drive until they obtained a correct licence and three drivers had their licences suspended for 28 days.

Head of Road Policing in the Western Bay, Senior Sergeant Ian Campion, said most drivers followed the rules but a handful of people "made stupid decisions" and put other road users at risk.

"It does really concern me to have 15 people facing drink-driving charges and it should be a concern for other road users, because these people are sharing the road with us. Their poor decision to get behind the wheel could result in road accidents ... so I challenge everyone that if they know of someone who has had too much to drink and plans to drive, to take their keys off them and offer them a bed, or a piece of carpet, for the night."

During the operation, four other people were arrested for fines, warrants or other matters, Mr Campion said.

Nationally, more than 1500 police took part in the weekend blitz.

National manager of Road Policing, Superintendent Carey Griffiths said the operation had resulted in 448 arrests, 170 reported assaults, 135 licence breaches, and 364 drink-drive offences.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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