Rebecca Quilliam

Rebecca Quilliam is senior reporter at the NZME. News Service office in Wellington.

Music festival sees police out in force

The popular three-day Rhythm and Vines music festival at Gisborne will see the population increase by about 17,000. Photo / APNZ
The popular three-day Rhythm and Vines music festival at Gisborne will see the population increase by about 17,000. Photo / APNZ

As holiday revellers take to the roads today, police are warning motorists to take their time, be patient and steer clear of the booze.

The popular three-day Rhythm and Vines music festival at Gisborne will see the population increase by about 17,000, on top of an extra 10,000 visitors who are attending the BW Festival in the city.

Police are out in force on all highways north and south of Gisborne making sure those heading to the festivals get there safely, acting Eastern Road Policing Manager Inspector Peter McKennie said.

"We will be very visible on the highways and we will be stopping anyone who is driving dangerously or speeding.

"It's pointless trying to hurry - there will be traffic congestion along both state highways north and south coming into Gisborne. So our advice is to lower your speed and be patient. You will get there eventually," Mr McKennie said.

Police would also be conducting random breath testing checks at points along the highways and the 4km/h speed tolerance limit would also be enforced.

Mr McKennie said festival-goers who chose to drink on the journey to Gisborne were asking for trouble.

Waikato police were also warning against drivers having a tipple before getting behind the wheel, after recording some high alcohol readings so far during the festive season.

Acting road policing manager Inspector Marcus Lynam said the call comes amidst the thousands of drivers heading into the Waikato all bound for popular holiday spots.

"There has been major congestion reported on the Southern Motorway heading into the Waikato and on SH2 to the Coromandel and a number of crashes have compounded the issue further.

"Then we've had three incidents involving intoxicated drivers where but for a bit of good luck, we could have been dealing with tragedies."

Mr Lynam said the first incident involved the sole occupant of a Honda Accord that crashed into a power-pole on Carrington Ave, near the University of Waikato about 4pm on Christmas Day.

"When located by Police the driver had passed out due to his level of intoxication and when breath tested at the station returned a breath alcohol test result of 1295mgms, over three times the legal limit."

Mr Lynam said at the time the man crashed his car, several family groups were out walking to and from nearby parks on the offender's route and police believed all the parties concerned were very lucky that the intoxicated driver collided with a power-pole and not a person.

The next incident also happened in Hamilton, on Boxing Day morning, with a 26-year-old man recording more than twice the legal breath alcohol limit at a routine traffic stop.

The third incident involved a 24-year-old Matamata man who crashed his car after he had been drinking and damaged a power-pole, streetlight-pole, three fences and a number of windows of homes after he lost control of his station-wagon on Western St about 1am yesterday.

"The common thread in each of these incidents is that they all involved alcohol and in two of them, they involved crashes and a sizeable element of luck in avoiding serious injury or worse," Mr Lynam said.

- APNZ

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