Police will be out in force around Rotorua roads over the next two days - kicking off a crackdown on drink-driving, speeding and seatbelt use in the lead-up to Christmas.

Bay of Plenty road policing manager Inspector Brent Crowe has announced a major road policing operation over the next four weeks, starting in Rotorua today and tomorrow.

Police from Tauranga and the Waikato will join local staff to provide a significant presence on Rotorua roads, he said.

"Our aim is to get all road users to make good choices, we want people to look after each other, drink responsibly, don't drive after consuming alcohol and drive within the speed limits."

He said in the year to September 1801 people had been charged with drink-driving in the Bay of Plenty.


The most common times they were caught were Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, he said.

Mr Crowe said 37 per cent of those caught were between the ages of 20 to 29, which was the highest age group category.

Seatbelts will also be a focus for the operation.

Mr Crowe said "typically" about 60 people died nationally each year because they were involved in a crash and weren't wearing a seatbelt.

However, he said this number had leapt to more than 90 in the past 12 months.

"The latest Ministry of Transport seatbelt survey also shows, for the first time, that rates of people wearing seatbelts has declined."

He said any decrease in the use of seatbelts was a concern for police.

"Seatbelts don't prevent crashes, however if you are involved in a crash they will significantly reduce your chances of being seriously injured or killed."

Mr Crowe said Hamilton and Tauranga would also be part of the operation during the four weeks where the "booze bus" would be out and about with several other checkpoints throughout the region.

"With Christmas events and functions looming we want people to enjoy themselves but to also make sure they have a safe way home.

"It's about encouraging responsible and safe behaviours on the roads and ensuring that everyone who uses the roads gets to their destination safely."