Waikato police net 74 in drink-drive blitz

By Simon O'Rourke, NZPA

Waikato police stopped and breathtested 4113 drivers at the weekend and netted 74 people over the legal drink-drive limit.

More than 30 specialist staff were involved in the compulsory stops, which were run in response to growing concern about the problem in and around Hamilton.

Operation commander Senior Sergeant Bruce Lyon said of most concern was the attitude of a high number of young offenders.

Many had no regard for the welfare of other road users or bystanders, he said.

"This is a sad indictment upon not only the present-day youth, but also the parental control and standards that these young people have been brought up with," he said.

Fourteen vehicles were impounded by police during the operation.

Of the 74 drivers who would face court action, 17 had previous drink-driving convictions. One person had 11 previous convictions for drink-driving.

Meanwhile, in Wellington, a man who was among 45 people charged with drink-driving during a seven-day blitz in the city returned home after police processed him, got his spare keys and was caught again.

Senior Sergeant Doug Rowan said 5875 vehicles were stopped during last week's blitz and it was disappointing that so many were found to be driving while intoxicated.

He said one driver was stopped in Porirua on Friday night and had his keys confiscated after failing a breath test.

"Later in the evening he was stopped for the second time. He'd found a spare set of keys and returned to his vehicle - and was again found to be over the limit."

The highest breath-alcohol level recorded during the blitz was 1337 micrograms per litre of breath - more than three times the limit of 400mcg .

Mr Rowan said five cars were impounded during the blitz under boy-racer legislation, including four in Lower Hutt and one in Wellington.

He said people needed to be more responsible on the roads, especially considering the amount of holiday traffic that would be heading out of the capital at the end of the week.


OVER THE LIMIT

* Highest male result: 22-year-old male, 915mcg per litre of breath (legal limit applicable = 400)

* Highest female result: 18-year-old female, 563 (legal limit applicable = 150)

* The number of drivers arrested who have been convicted before of drink-drive offences = 17

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