Far too many drivers flout law in North, say police after sting

By Kristin Edge

Nearly 40 drunk drivers a week have been nabbed by Northland police in a six-week sting.
Most of the 234 drunk drivers charged in Operation Moonshine 2 were sniffed out in Whangarei, where 83 people exceeded the legal breath alcohol level.
In Kaitaia, 45 drivers face court charges while the other drivers were spread across the region.
A 30-year-old woman was caught twice in one night while another woman had a breath alcohol level of 1058 micrograms - more than two-and-a-half times the legal limit of 400mcg.
She was a driver on a learner's licence and had two previous drink-driving charges.
Northland's top traffic officer, Inspector Clifford Paxton, was concerned with the high number of drivers flouting the law during the sting, which ran from November 30 to January 7.
"Despite significant media campaigns and regular enforcement by police there are sections of the community who are still not getting the message and choose to put themselves and other road users at risk," Mr Paxton said.
Northland has one of the highest rates of recidivist drink drivers in the country.
From a total of 4747 drink drivers picked up between 2004 and 2006, 1147 were charged with subsequent drink driving offences.
At 30 percent, Dargaville had the highest rate of recidivist drink drivers.
The Far North has the highest number of car crashes in the country in which alcohol is a factor - 27 percent.
Mr Paxton said a significant number of offenders were caught after drinking at home and then driving back into town to pick up more alcohol or food.
"Northland police urge family members and friends to make sure these people don't get behind the wheel and drive.

Take the keys off them."

- Northern Advocate

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