Caught drivers face a hard year

By Don Farmer

It was sobering to read of the sheer quantity of Wairarapa drivers who were stopped and breath tested over New Year.

Police laid claim to checking over 1600 and picked up seven who were over the legal drink-drive limit.

That may sound a very small percentage, and it is, but the impact for those seven drivers will be enormous.

There is nothing wrong with driving if you have had a drink. What is absolutely foolhardy, and devastating, is to have too much to drink - and it doesn't take much to exceed legal limits - and then take the risk of driving home.

Five of the seven drivers who tested positive at New Year were caught in Masterton, in the early hours after seeing in 2013. Perhaps they thought all those on police patrol would be tucked up in bed by then - wrong.

What a horrible start to a new year, being caught as a drink-driver. To be staring down the barrel of a hefty fine and to face losing your driver's licence, an essential commodity for most of us.

Recently a judge in Masterton District Court commented that the Catch 22 situation with drinking when you are planning to drive is the consumption of alcohol not only fudges your driving, it releases your inhibitions and clouds your judgment.

Therefore you are more inclined to succumb to ill-founded bravado and take the risk of driving home, even though you know you shouldn't.

What a vicious cycle that is and - to invoke Murphy's Law - it is a fair bet on that one-time when you decide to risk it there will be a checkpoint.

Disaster looms and there is nothing you can do.

Conversely nothing is more comforting at a checkpoint than to know you haven't had a drink, or called it quits after a modest amount and are in no danger of being stripped of your dignity, your cash and your licence.

- Wairarapa Times-Age

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