Southern Police have this month been focusing on rural drink
driving across Otago and Southland as they work to reduce the
trauma caused when people drink and drive.
Acting Southern District Road policing manager Senior
Sergeant Steve Larking said rural roads provide different
kinds of risks and challenges.
''Rural people are more prone to injury on rural roads as the
bulk of the roads are 100km an hour zones, road conditions
are often more challenging, there are more gravel roads, and
the distances from immediate help and medical care are often
greater,'' he said.
Police have been targeting all aspects of drink-driving
behaviour for years but since the beginning of this month
have begun focusing on the rural aspect of the situation.
Appointing a sober driver, planning a safe way to get home
and being a responsible host were all ways we could
positively influence our friends and family, Snr Sgt Larking
''We've all got a responsibility to be safe road users, for
ourselves and others on the road.''
Last year, New Zealand Police worked alongside Rural Women
New Zealand as they conducted a rural crime survey which said
that drink-driving was one of the largest concerns for rural
Rural Women's focus has been on encouraging people to use
Crimestoppers as the way to report rural crime, including
drink-driving recidivists, due to the difficulties of doing
so otherwise in a close-knit rural community. They believed
enforcement was going to be a key way of stopping this
At the Rural Women's conference last year, John Perham, of
Crimestoppers, said rural people needed to move from being
bystanders in the crime prevention process to being active
participants in helping police in every way they could to
make rural communities safe.
''Often rural people will know who is regularly driving
drunk, but there is a reluctance to dob in friends and
Hospitality New Zealand could not be reached for comment.
- by Nicole Sharp