There is still a long way to go to address the issue of drink
driving in rural communities, the acting southern district
road policing manager says.
More than 1000 excess breath alcohol proceedings have
occurred in the rural communities of the southern police
district in the past three years, figures obtained from
Acting southern district road policing manager Acting Senior
Sergeant Peter Muldrew said the figures showed drink driving
was still an issue in rural communities.
''Many people in rural New Zealand do understand and take on
board the drink driving message, but there is still a long
way to go in terms of ownership of the issue amongst our
rural communities,'' Snr Sgt Muldrew said.
''This is clearly evident from the drink driving
apprehensions and the crashes that police attend.''
Due to the ''larger and more widely dispersed rural
population'' in Otago and Southland, more people relied on
driving themselves after drinking, as there was not the other
means of transport, such as taxis and courtesy coaches, found
in urban settings, he said.
However, those who drunk and drove in rural communities were
endangering themselves and others.
''Rural people are more likely to drive in environments where
the majority of roads have a 100km speed limit and often road
conditions can be more challenging,'' Snr Sgt Muldrew said.
''These factors do mean that if they are already engaging in
a risky behaviour such as drinking and driving, they can be
more likely to become victims of a road crash.''
Police were doing what they could to reduce drink driving in
rural communities. However, ''communities themselves need to
take ownership of the issue, including the actions and
behaviours of those around them'', he said.
''If you see friends or family members making a poor decision
to drink and drive and putting the safety and lives of others
at risk, then take action to stop this happening,'' Snr Sgt
''There are ... ways that you can influence people who make
poor choices in relation to drinking and driving. These
include being a responsible host, creating a plan before
heading out on how to get home safely or simply having a
conversation with them about it."
- by Timothy Brown