Dunedin drink-driving dropping but still 'long way to go'

The number of drink-drivers caught on Dunedin roads has dropped by 23% but there is still ''a long way to go'', police say.

Figures released to The Star under the Official Information Act show 548 people were caught drink-driving last year compared to 715 in 2009.

The number of drink-drivers caught in rural areas has also decreased. Last year, 280 people were caught, compared with 455 in 2009.

The number of recidivist drink-drivers who have been caught three or more times has decreased.

Last year, 116 were caught in Dunedin compared with 132 in 2009. Recidivist drivers caught in rural areas increased by 3 (to 43) last year, compared to 40 in 2009.

Southern District acting road policing manager Senior Sergeant Steve Larking said with the number of people still being caught it was ''obvious some people are ignoring the safety message of `Don't drink and Drive'''.

''The reduction is good but we have a long way to go. There is a mix of drivers that have never been caught for drink driving and recidivist drink-drivers.

Generally about a-quarter of all drink-drivers apprehended by police have a previous conviction for a similar offence,'' he said.

Dunedin Central, Dunedin South and Mosgiel were the top three areas where drink-drivers were caught last year.

In Dunedin Central 100 people were caught last year compared to 234 in 2009, 79 were caught in Dunedin South compared to 88 in 2009 and 53 were caught in Mosgiel last year compared to 46 in 2009.

Since the zero alcohol limit for drivers under 20 was introduced in August 2011, 487 drivers were caught. Of these, 183 recorded a breath alcohol reading of over 400mcgs per litre of breath, which is the adult limit.

Six of these drivers have recorded their third or subsequent drink-driving offence. Five of these were in 2012 and one last year.

Snr Sgt Larking said police were continuing to ''enforce'' drink driving in Dunedin through checkpoints, mobile breath tests, and by targeting recidivist drink-drivers and specific places where drink driving might occur.


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