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Police in the Southern district warn they will be out in force to apprehend drink- and drug-drivers in a campaign launched this week and set to continue into the new year. ''Don't take the risk of getting caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs,'' Senior Sergeant Steve Larking, of Dunedin, said.
''You will be caught and you will also run the risk of seriously harming yourself, your family or friends or someone else.''
Police said drivers could expect to see marked and plain police vehicles stopping motorists across Otago and Southland before Christmas and over the holiday period.
Every driver stopped will be breath-tested.
''We will be mass testing as many drivers as possible at peak times at road checkpoints and also carrying out random stops,'' Snr Sgt Larking said.
''As Christmas approaches many people attend work and family functions. It is important that people plan to ensure plenty of food is available at functions and that arrangements are made early to ensure that everybody has a safe way to get home.
''We remind drivers under 20 that there is a zero alcohol limit for them when driving.
''For adults over 20, the penalties of being caught driving when over the alcohol limit range from a possible three months' imprisonment, six months' disqualification from driving and a fine of up to $4500.''
• 45,909 drivers were stopped and breath-tested in the Southern district in December 2011 and January 2012.
• Of those, 291 were charged with drink- or drug-driving offences.
• 84 of the offences occurred in Dunedin Clutha, 89 in Otago Rural and 118 in Southland.70 of these 291 drivers were under 20 years of age.
• Of those 70, 16 offences occurred in Dunedin Clutha, 22 in Otago Rural and 32 in Southland.