Drink-drivers risking lives, wasting time, police say

Risking lives and tying up police resources are some of the reasons Alexandra police are frustrated with the seven drink-drivers picked up in the past few days.

Senior Constable Graham Perkins said while drivers were entitled to have an evidential blood test following a breath test showing they had exceeded the legal breath-alcohol limits, it was a time-consuming process which took up to three hours.

The blood test had to be taken at Dunstan Hospital and a police officer had to be with the alleged offender at all times. If the hospital was busy or staff were not available, that could extend the time it took.

Last Thursday Alexandra police stopped a 20-year-old man who chose to have a blood test after a 444mcg breath-alcohol result.

He took exception to being breath-tested and Omakau police had to travel to Alexandra to assist the officer on duty.

While they were dealing with that, a disqualified driver crashed into another vehicle.

Cromwell police had to go to Alexandra and the driver recorded a breath-alcohol level of 508mcg.

The week did not improve as rural police issued seven speeding tickets in Roxburgh and a 23-year-old man was stopped in Millers Flat for drink-driving (400mcg).

In Omakau, a 19-year-old man was found driving with a breath-alcohol level of 250mcg. Under-20 drivers have a zero alcohol limit.

Numerous drivers were stopped in Ranfurly on Saturday and two drink-drivers were found, Snr Const Perkins said.

One had been drinking within 300m of where he was staying the night.

On Sunday a 48-year-old man was reported weaving across the road as he drove into Alexandra.

His breath-alcohol level was 474mcg and he chose to have a blood test taken.

"These are locals endangering others."

The offenders came from all walks of life and were different ages, Snr Const Perkins said.

"As the old ad said, ‘country people die on country roads’. We are getting results we don’t want to have."

If people had been drinking they should wait, have a meal, have a sleep or get someone else to drive.