A young mother with her two children in the car was one of seven drunk drivers caught on Taranaki roads over the weekend.
The 22-year-old, a disqualified driver in a car lacking a registration and warrant of fitness, was pulled over in Oakura about 2am on Saturday, with her 2-year-old daughter sitting unrestrained in the front seat and her 5-month-old baby in the back.
She had a breath alcohol level of 528 micrograms - the legal limit is 400mcg.
Another drunk driver was caught after he crashed his car on Carrington Rd.
The Traffic and Alcohol Group (TAG) set up six checkpoints, five in New Plymouth and one in Bell Block, on Friday night and ran a 10-hour operation on Saturday stopping hundreds of cars.
TAG caught three drunk drivers within an hour on Friday and another two in Saturday's operation.
TAG head Sergeant Shane Hurliman was almost knocked off his feet while manning a checkpoint near the clock tower when one drunk driver made her brief bid for freedom.
"A young lady came bowling through, she just went straight past me," Mr Hurliman said.
Following a brief chase, where the woman ran a red light, the 34-year-old pulled over. She had a breath alcohol level of 859mcg.
"She was well over, obviously intoxicated."
It wasn't long before a 40-year-old man, who claimed he had only had one drink, blew 470mcg.
Mr Hurliman said the man then tried to put a guilt trip on police telling them they were ruining his life.
"He was almost indignant for having to be there, 470 isn't high but it is over the limit," he said.
"To blow 470 off one drink, that one drink would have to be a half-pint of pure scotch."
Another 22-year-old female blew 623mcg after officers spotted her in the CBD and called TAG to breathalise her.
While Saturday's operation didn't catch as many drunk drivers, a raft of tickets were written out for drivers breaching the conditions of their licences and vehicles with no warrants of fitness and registrations. One car was impounded from a driver caught driving while forbidden.
Mr Hurliman said drunk drivers caught twice within four years faced tough penalties including the confiscation of their vehicles and police were being well supported in their efforts to curb offending.
"The judge can and, in most cases that we've seen lately, will confiscate their motor vehicle. That's a good thing, the support that we are getting from the judicial system has been brilliant."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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