Rise in drink driving after quakes

By Christine de Felice

The spread of bars across the suburbs has also led to a drop-off in taxi availability. Photo / Thinkstock
The spread of bars across the suburbs has also led to a drop-off in taxi availability. Photo / Thinkstock

The number of drink drivers getting caught in parts of Christchurch has risen dramatically since the earthquakes.

"In the 2011-2012 year there was a 69 per cent increase," road policing manager, Inspector Al Stewart told The Star.

This was in contrast to an overall 15 per cent decrease of drink-drivers getting caught in the Canterbury area for the same period.

"The reason for the increase is the displacement of people from the inner city bars to people going to local bars," Mr Stewart said.

"Previously, when they went into the city, people would plan for getting there and getting home. Now they're just jumping into their cars and driving to their local bar, and driving between suburbs.

"They're driving between areas like Riccarton, Merivale, Hornby."

All demographics were represented, he said.

The spread of bars across the suburbs has also led to a drop-off in taxi availability, prompting people to take their cars when they go out socialising and drive home over the limit.

The shift of the bar hotspots to places like Riccarton, Lincoln Rd and Merivale had made it hard for taxis to cover all the areas, rather than just the central city as it was prior to the earthquakes, Blue Star Taxis' general manager Bob Wilkinson said.

Inspector Stewart said regular checkpoints were being set up around Riccarton to catch those driving over the limit.

"The message is, if you drink-drive, there's a very good chance you'll get caught."

- CHRISTCHURCH STAR

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