Editorial: Drink drive blitz to be applauded

By Andrew Austin


In the lead-up to Christmas, there is nothing more pleasing - albeit a little nerve-racking - then seeing the police checkpoints set up around Hawke's Bay to catch drink-drivers.

I have been through two checkpoints in the past two weeks and, even though there was no way I could have been over the limit, I still felt the adrenalin begin to pump each time.

It is not a pleasant feeling at all and that is coming from a sober driver. It is enough to put you off drinking and driving for life.

I suppose that is how most law-abiding citizens feel, but equally there is a section of the community who just don't seem to care and don't learn their lesson. If they did, they would not keep going out and getting caught.

I applaud the police for the tough stance they are taking against people drinking and driving. It has put awareness out there and it is the hot topic of conversation at functions I attend. This is good because it makes people mindful - and even a little fearful - about the consequences if they drink too much, drive and get caught.

Although the police operations around Havelock North, especially, have been going on for some time, the fight against drink driving was stepped up at the weekend with a transtasman blitz by the Australian and New Zealand police.

I am not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing but a record number of 26 people in the region were caught in the sixth Operation Unite blitz.

On the Friday night alone, 14 people were processed for excess breath-alcohol after being stopped at checkpoints across the region - which was double the figure over the whole weekend last year.

On Saturday it was little better, with another 12 drivers being processed for being over the legal limit.

In 2009 there were 17 people caught, and 22 in 2010, which was the highest recorded in the Operation Unite series - until last weekend when the figure hit 26.

Hopefully, those 26 people have learnt their lesson and, when they eventually get their licences back, they will refrain from putting their own and other people's lives in danger.

The more the dangers of drink driving can be rammed home this festive season, the better for all of us.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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