Drink drive figures in decline

By Amy McGillivray

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The number of drink-drivers on Western Bay roads appears to have fallen this year compared to last, but the worst offending could be yet to come.

Road policing manager Senior Sergeant Ian Campion said 383 drink-drivers were caught between January 1 and June 3 this year almost 77 each month.

In 2012, 1255 drink-drivers were caught in the area an average of 105 per month.

Of those caught last year, 74 per cent were male and 26 per cent were female, Mr Campion said.

This year's figures may be down on last year's monthly average but the number of drink-drivers on the road was always highest in late November and December, which pushed the total up, Mr Campion said.

Drink-driving was a big focus for traffic police all year and the area's youngest drivers seemed to be getting the message, Mr Campion said.

"The 15 to 19 age group are really leading the way in drink-driving reductions.

"They have gone from 27.2 per cent of the total drink-drive prosecutions [in the Western Bay] in 2008 down to 18.5 per cent last year.

"That's a reduction of almost 300 young people not drinking and driving."

Corrections Minister Anne Tolley announced this week she would be putting a proposal to Cabinet in favour of using alcohol detecting anklets to monitor offenders who had alcohol conditions imposed on their bail, home detention or community-based sentences.

She expected to trial them on about 300 offenders next year.

Until April, Western Bay police provided the names and details of all drink-drivers to the Bay of Plenty Times each month for publication.

This practice was stopped pending the outcome of an ongoing national police review, triggered by concerns over privacy.

The release of the latest drink drive figures comes a day after the Bay of Plenty Times reported on a presentation by convicted drink-driver Roy Nathan and widower Bert van Heuckelum, who united in an effort to stop others getting behind the wheel drunk.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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