700 vehicles stopped in crackdown

Steve Watt.
Steve Watt.
A crackdown on drink-driving in and around Wanaka seems to be working but the police say there is still more work to do to stop motorists getting behind the wheel drunk.

Wanaka police have been targeting drink-drivers in the town  for the past three weekends and have stopped more than 700 vehicles and checked their drivers’ breath-alcohol levels.

As part of Operation Lift, more than 200 vehicles were stopped during the past two weekends and no drivers were found to be over the drink-driving limit.

Acting Senior Sergeant Steve Watt, of Wanaka,  said he was pleased with the outcome from last weekend’s testing  but added there was still work to be done to get drink-drivers off the roads around Wanaka.

"It was excellent to see motorists were adhering to the law and taking their own and others’ safety into consideration by not drinking and driving on our roads around Wanaka."

On the first weekend of the operation, Wanaka police were joined by road policing staff from Cromwell and Queenstown and more than 500 vehicles were stopped by those officers. As a result, five people were found to be over the breath-alcohol limit and were processed for excess breath-alcohol.

"There’s still a long way to go to in order to eliminate those drink-drivers on the road, but we’re going to continue working hard to make sure road users remain safe and can drive without fear or harm from those drink-driving behind the wheel."

Statistics gathered during the operation would help police form a bigger picture about who the offenders were.

"It’s not just locals and it’s not just tourists, it’s a mixture, and it wouldn’t be fair to identify one particular section of the community because it really is a cross-section."

It could be difficult to target those who were only visiting the region for a short time but police focused on being visible to all motorists, which got the message across that motorists could be stopped at any time, Snr Sgt Watt said. Police in Wanaka would continue to make drink-driving their top priority, Snr Sgt Watt said.


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