Too many Waikato and Bay of Plenty drivers are getting behind the wheel drunk, or driving in breach of graduated driver licences, police say following a combined operation during the weekend.
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 to Taupo and Tauranga while on Saturday night Bay of Plenty officers came over to conduct several alcohol checkpoints in and around Hamilton.
"Disappointingly, despite officers setting up their checkpoints during daylight as a deterrent, of the 5140 drivers stopped 45 are 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.
A concerning trend for police is young or inexperienced drivers ignoring the restrictions of their graduated driver licences.
"The night before the operation, we saw a disqualified learner driver die in a high speed crash on Old Taupiri Rd that left four people injured, one of them critically.
"During the course of Friday and Saturday nights, several young drivers were found driving after 10pm, often carrying passengers. The restrictions of graduated drivers licences are to help vulnerable drivers gain experience on the roads and if they are found breaching them they can expect the Police to take action."
Policed seek Ford driver
Police are seeking the driver of a green Ford Falcon who may be able to help them with their inquiries into a serious accident and any other witnesses after a crash north of Ohaupo left two female drivers fighting for their lives.
Waikato Highway Patrol's Sergeant John Stapleford said the crash was under investigation by the Waikato Serious Crash Unit but initial indications are it involved more than the two vehicles that collided about a kilometre south of the intersection of Airport Rd and SH3 late last week.
"It appears the driver of a north bound silver Mitsubishi car was passing a van when an older green Ford Falcon sedan began to follow her very closely. As the woman completed her passing manoeuvre, she moved into the left hand lane but the driver of the Falcon then cut sharply in front of her, causing the woman to lose control of her car.
"We believe the Mitsubishi then careered across the centreline, into the path of a southbound Honda resulting in a collision that left both female drivers suffering critical injuries."
Mr Stapleford said the driver of the green Ford Falcon did not stop and was seen to drive off at speed.
Both drivers, believed to be aged 27 and 72-years-old, were taken to Waikato Hospital by ambulance suffering from status one injuries.
"We don't know for certain that the driver of the Falcon was aware of what occurred and if that is the case we want that person to come forward.
"Traffic on SH3 at the time was busy and we believe there may be several drivers who saw what happened.
"If that is the case and you haven't done so, we ask you to contact Police."
Anyone with any information on the crash, or on the identity of the occupants of the older model green Ford Falcon, is asked to contact Mr Stapleford at the Waikato Highway Patrol base on 07 858 6200. Alternatively, information can be left anonymously with Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.