Praise for safe drivers

GERMARI HERSELMAN
Last updated 07:10 06/01/2014
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John Cowie

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Marlborough police are praising drivers after a successful holiday road campaign.

Of 1100 drivers breath-tested between December 20 and January 3, only five were found to be over the limit.

Regional highway patrol team leader Sergeant Barrie Greenall said as well as the low number of drink-drivers, the number of people caught speeding or not wearing seatbelts had also come down. He also said drivers generally seemed more relaxed.

"We've had fewer incidents with pulling people over and resisting or giving us flak, for breath-testing especially."

Mr Greenall said that while some of the statistics of the campaign may seem high, it was merely a reflection of the sheer number of drivers stopped by police during the holiday period.

A total of 358 speeding notices were issued during the 15-day campaign. The fastest offender was travelling at 137kmh. Mr Greenall said a female driver who had only recently gained her learner's licence was clocked doing 112kmh.

"She had only had her learner licence for eight days and already she was speeding," Mr Greenall said. "I was shocked that new licensed drivers are taking chances on our roads."

Meanwhile, 36 people were ticketed for driving without a seatbelt.

"It is the simplest and most effective thing to save someone's life, I just cannot believe that so many people would still drive while being at risk," he said.

"It's such a simple thing, just pull and click, nothing to it."

Another 248 notices were handed out to drivers, including five for talking on a cellphone while driving, 20 for not stopping at a stop line or dangerously overtaking on a solid line.

"We want drivers to not only think of their own safety when driving, but of other drivers as well - dangerously overtaking is not acceptable," Mr Greenall said.

Six vehicles were ordered off the road by police as they were deemed unsafe.

Traffic had been gradually increasing on regional roads since Thursday as travellers headed home after the Christmas/New Year break.

"Thursday was really busy and there has been a definite increase over the weekend," Mr Greenall said. "We suspect that the traffic started earlier this year as campers and holidaymakers possibly just had enough of the wet and unpredictable weather."

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- The Marlborough Express

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