A drink driver three times over the legal breath alcohol limit at 10am and another four times over are among “ridiculous” levels blown by motorists in the Bay of Plenty recently, police say.
Bay of Plenty road policing manager Inspector Logan Marsh said the number of impaired drivers police were catching was “alarming” and “not acceptable”.
In a statement today police said intoxicated drivers were being caught day and night, from a big mix of society and all demographics, “some with ridiculous levels” of breath alcohol.
Marsh said the figures needed to create a conversation.
“These people are sharing the roads with our family, our friends, and our colleagues.
“The actions of drivers who get behind the wheel when they’re impaired puts all road users at risk – and our staff see the devastating consequences on a far too frequent basis.”
With the Christmas season starting and after-work drinks, he feared the results would only get worse unless attitudes changed.
An operation on Wednesday night saw 10 drivers charged with drink driving, with one allegedly recording a breath alcohol level of 1021 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath – more than four times the legal adult limit of 250mcg.
The limit is zero for drivers aged 20 and under.
Sergeant Mark Holmes agreed that while alarming, the numbers reflected what other recent checkpoints in the area had found.
Two drivers had their vehicles immediately impounded and three had their licences suspended immediately because their reading was over 650.
They would face further suspensions as part of the court process.
Two weeks ago, a two-hour checkpoint near Ōmōkoroa caught nine impaired drivers.
Holmes said last week police stopped several people during the day with readings far exceeding the limit, including one with a breath alcohol level of 1100 and another with a reading of 754 at 10am.
“It’s not uncommon for us to be catching people driving impaired as early as 8am or 9am.”
He said it was a “stark reminder” of why it was important every driver stopped by police was tested.
“Motorists can expect to be stopped and breath tested anywhere, at any time.”