During the past two weekends Police engaged with more than 11,000 drivers at breath alcohol checkpoints around Western Bay of Plenty, as part of Operation Tri City.
“Amongst this number, 153 impaired drivers were processed at these checkpoints – equating to 1 in every 75 vehicles stopped,” says Relieving District Commander Superintendent Tim Anderson.
“This was a disappointing and significant number of impaired drivers on our roads putting themselves, their passengers and other road users at risk of harm on our roads. Imagine what may have happened if Police hadn’t stopped them.
“What was particularly concerning was that several of those who were caught over the limit were at a checkpoint on State Highway 2 near Paengaroa in a 100km/h area.”
This is the fifth year Bay of Plenty District and Waikato District Police have worked together on Operation Tri City, where Road Policing staff, Impairment Prevention Team and Commercial Vehicle Safety Team spend a weekend each in Rotorua, Tauranga and Hamilton carrying out roadside impairment testing.
“For the most part our presence, at a mix of urban and rural locations, was very well received with many of the people commenting on how good it was to see us out in numbers,” says Superintendent Anderson.
“Op Tri City is an important part of our work towards Vision Zero – which has the aim of having no deaths on our roads by 2050. We were highly visible, engaged with thousands of motorists and undertook an intensive breath testing campaign – all with the specific aim of reducing road trauma caused by alcohol and drug impairment.
“The impact of being apprehended for drinking and driving can be significant, but not as significant as causing serious injury or death on our roads. Our message is simple, don’t drink and drive, have a plan to get home safely if you over indulge.”
The operation also saw Police locate four disqualified drivers, suspend 18 drivers’ licenses and impound eight vehicles.
While this was a targeted operation, the public can expect to Police at any time and in any place.