Central Otago police are warning the public to act responsibly on the road as drink-driving campaigns are stepped up throughout the district.
Central Otago sub-area acting supervisor Detective Sergeant Derek Shaw said some recent “blatant” drink-driving had been disappointing, and police were determined to maintain a high profile on the roads to catch drink-drivers.
Police conducted a targeted campaign in Cromwell a month ago in which eight people were apprehended for drink-driving during one weekend.
Some of those appeared in the Alexandra District Court last week; others are still being processed through the justice system.
Ten people were sentenced for drink-driving in the Alexandra court last week.
Det Sgt Shaw said all of the eight apprehended during the targeted Cromwell operation were male, and mainly middle-aged, returning home from after-work drinks.
One of the men was drinking in the car while driving, with a box of beer in his car.
Det Sgt Shaw appreciated many people worked hard and wanted to “unwind” at the end of the week, but said people had a responsibility to have a sober driver or make other arrangements to get home if they were drinking.
He also reminded people of the risk of still being over the limit the morning after a night out drinking.
He said it was concerning to think the recent drink-driving apprehensions may be only a snapshot of the numbers of actual drink-drivers on the road.
He warned drivers to remember police could be “any place, any time”, and said police would continue proactive patrols and drink-driving campaigns.
Det Sgt Shaw said people needed to realise their decision-making was impaired after they had been drinking, and the effect drink-driving tragedies had.
“[Drink-driving] crashes have a real ripple effect through the community. We just need to avoid that. The cost is too high.”
Alexandra Sergeant Bruce Martin, of the Otago-Lakes Central road policy group, said despite recent tragedies people were still drink-driving.
Two recent crashes, of a car into a tree in Ennis St, Alexandra, and a car that rear-ended a boat on a trailer, in Clyde, were thought to be linked to drink-driving.
A person arrested regarding the Ennis St crash would appear in the Alexandra court, and the driver of the vehicle that crashed in Clyde was still being sought.
Sgt Martin reminded people not only of the tragedies that drink-driving could cause, but the practical repercussions for those convicted.
They could be banned from travelling to certain countries, face huge costs getting a limited licence, and risk losing their job if it depended on having a driver’s licence.