Err on side of safety: police

A car is driven on the right-hand side of the Crown Range Road on Sunday. The driver was arrested...
A car is driven on the right-hand side of the Crown Range Road on Sunday. The driver was arrested and charged with dangerous driving. PHOTO: NZ POLICE
Police  are pointing to the antics of an alleged dangerous driver on the Crown Range as a reason for motorists to belt up.

Dingxuan Yu (28), of Shanghai appeared in the Queenstown District Court yesterday charged with dangerous driving on the Crown Range Road, between Arrowtown and Wanaka, on Sunday.

Photos from a witness, shared by police, show a car being driven on the wrong side of the road. In one photo there is an oncoming car.

Road policing Sergeant Chris Brooks, of Queenstown, said there was no crash but the driver was later arrested and charged.

``They're not overtaking - they're just driving on the wrong side of the road,'' he said of the photo.

``You don't know what's coming around the corner. [Wearing a seatbelt is] a life-saving action, isn't it?''

Senior Sergeant Glenn Wilkinson, Otago Lakes road policing manager, said 70 people not wearing seatbelts had been killed in road crashes around the country this year. There appeared to be an increase in people being found in Otago Lakes not wearing seatbelts, which he said was ``bizarre''.

This summer police will focus on seatbelt-wearing, drink-driving and speed, with a 4kmh threshold above the speed limit being enforced until January 31.

According to the New Zealand Transport Agency, 311 people have been killed on New Zealand roads this year, slightly ahead of the toll of 308 at the corresponding time last year.

``The hospitalisations rate - that's people that have been hospitalised for more than 24 hours - as a result of crashes is significantly higher than the last year. It's on the increase,'' Snr Sgt Wilkinson said.

There have been four people killed on Otago Lakes roads this year, the same death toll as last year.

Across Otago and Southland there were 31 road deaths up to December 12, well above last year's total of 24.

Road policing numbers are being boosted in the Otago Lakes over Christmas. Between noon and 5pm last Friday, several Queenstown police units set up random vehicle stops at 18 different locations around the Wakatipu Basin.

Sgt Brooks said several people were picked up with alcohol in their system but not any were over the limit.


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