James Ihaka

James Ihaka is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Drunk driver snapped at 170km/h - police

A man caught driving 170km/h was at more than twice the legal alcohol limit, police say. Photo / File
A man caught driving 170km/h was at more than twice the legal alcohol limit, police say. Photo / File

A motorist who was snapped driving at 170km/h on a north Waikato road then blew over twice the legal alcohol limit when he was pulled over, police allege.

Waikato police say they are horrified by the driver's antics north of Huntly on Saturday night.

The district's road policing manager, Inspector Freda Grace, said a highway patrol unit on a routine patrol on State Highway 1 noticed the south-bound ute approaching him at speed about 7.30pm.

"The officer saw the vehicle coming towards him by the Ohinewai-Tahuna overbridge and thought it looked like it was travelling pretty fast but it wasn't until he activated his radar that he realised just how fast it was actually going," said Mrs Grace.

"The front-facing radar locked on to the vehicle at 170km/h and the rear-facing device confirmed the same speed, if the officer was alarmed enough by the speed the driver was travelling at he was due for another surprise."

Mrs Grace said that when stopped, the driver was breath-tested and returned a result of 805mcg -- more than twice the legal limit of 400mcg -- for a fully licensed adult driver.

"As a result of his speed the Huntly man has had his licence suspended for 28 days and will face court action. What, if any, drink driving charges he may face will be determined by the results of a blood test he elected to take."

Mrs Grace said it was important to highlight the risks not just to the driver but to every other motorist who was using the road at the time as Queen's Birthday weekend approaches.

"My initial reaction to this incident was "good grief" people are simply not getting the message."

Mrs Grace said working with partner agencies, road safety messages were being provided to the public by way of bill boards, radio and television advertising and if education wasn't working, then enforcement becomes the option to reduce road trauma.

"But road safety isn't solely a police issue, it's a community issue and we all need to play our part."

"Saturday's incident falls right across the fatal five factors of speed, alcohol, keeping left, seatbelts and reckless or dangerous driving and if we're all going to make it to Monday this holiday weekend we all have to ensure that our drivers and vehicles are fit for the road."

- NZ Herald

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