Police traffic blitz in Northland for Labour Weekend

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POLICE BLITZ: Police patrols will be out in force on Northland's roads and beaches this Labour Weekend. PHOTO/ Michael Cunningham
POLICE BLITZ: Police patrols will be out in force on Northland's roads and beaches this Labour Weekend. PHOTO/ Michael Cunningham

Highways and beaches in Northland will be under close police scrutiny this Labour Weekend as more patrols hit the roads with traffic flows to the region expected to double.

As part of the long weekend blitz Northland roading police have teamed up with Waitemata counterparts to boost numbers in the operation.

Waitemata officers will be on the road between Warkworth and Whangarei including the crash blackspot at Dome Valley.

Northland road policing manager Inspector Wayne Ewers said the boost in staff numbers meant officers could push northwards in greater numbers.

"All road policing staff are working, even those who had the weekend rostered off are being called in," Mr Ewers said.

The high risk times were this afternoon and tomorrow morning when traffic heading for Northland could double, Mr Ewers said.

Monday afternoon would also be busy as people headed back south.

"While congestion might slow people down, there are always those impatient drivers who are the idiots that cause grief for everyone."

Police will be stopping drivers travelling more than 4km/h over the posted speed limits.

Mr Ewers said police would be using an array of tactics to detect errant drivers including marked and unmarked patrol cars, radars and hand-held laser guns.

"We want a fatality-free weekend across all of New Zealand."

There were no fatalities in Northland last Labour Weekend. The region's road toll stands at 24 this year.

Nationally police are promoting the message "Buckle up buttercup and be safe this Labour Day Weekend".

With a sharp increase in the number of people killed in crashes not wearing seatbelts police are using the long weekend to launch a campaign to encourage everyone to buckle up.

"Typically, each year around 60 people killed in crashes were not wearing seatbelts, however last year that number jumped to over 90," Assistant Commissioner of road policing Dave Cliff said.

"Sadly, the wearing of a seatbelt for some is not a habit and as a consequence far too many people are being needlessly killed and injured in crashes.

"Seatbelts save lives. It's that simple," Mr Cliff said.

Last Labour Weekend, five people died and 21 people were seriously injured across the country.

Beach vehicle safety is another area of concern for police.

"Many people don't realise that the beaches with vehicle access are legal roads. Those beaches have speed limits that need to be kept to for the safety of everyone on the beach, seatbelts need to be worn at all times, and road safety rules must be followed, for example not driving while impaired, and not using your phone while driving," Mr Cliff said.

- Northern Advocate

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