In recent times I've been breath tested thrice at the same evening checkpoint in Clive.

Suffice to say I don't have a date in court - but as a consequence of these recent police blitzes, many people do.

Following my most recent test late last month, an officer I know the next day informed that the driver directly behind me at the checkpoint had booked a date in court.

It's a sobering thought that the car in one's rear view mirror is being operated by someone unfit to do so.


Late last month the local Traffic Alcohol Booze Bus did a three-day blitz where a total of 22 drivers failed the three stages of testing - passive test, screening test and evidential test.

It still beggars belief.

For those of us who were born and raised here the macabre reality of drink-driving was etched forever at dusk, Christmas Eve, 1992.

Five university students were heading south along the Takapau Plains SH2 to spend Christmas in Wellington with their families.

Friends Craig Barnes, 22, Rebecca Franklin, 20, Nikki Taiaroa, 21, Marina Lock, 20, and John Taiaroa, 19, had spent the past few weeks fruit picking in Hawke's Bay.

All died after drunk motorist Bruce Ingpen crossed the centre line at 160km/h and collided head-on with their vehicle. He also died.

John survived the initial impact, but later died on the operating table.

Four hours earlier, the students had been at the home of Havelock North sculptor Ricks Terstappen.

The personal tragedy gave rise to perhaps his best known work, Waving Hands - a 4m sculpture complete with iron hands waving to all and sundry.

"I wanted to build a memorial a little different to the white crosses we see on roadsides,'' Terstappen said.

Families affected by the tragedy helped the artist erect the sculpture just down the road from the crash site.

It collapsed in 2006 after waving at motorists for 13 years.

In 2010 I spoke to Lindsay Taiaroa, the father of victims Nikki and John. He told me he no longer travels along SH2. "It's taboo," he said.

Shame that there's still many Bay people who see nothing taboo about boozing before driving.