Tougher drink drive sentences called for

LEIGHTON KEITH
Last updated 05:00 15/02/2013

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Taranaki people want to see tougher sentences dished out to recidivist drunk drivers, a survey has found.

The survey, which had 100 participants, was conducted by New Plymouth Injury Safe before and after the Taranaki Daily News' None for the Road anti-drink-driving campaign.

Sixty-six percent of participants didn't believe the penalties for driving drunk were severe enough.

"The only thing that will stop them is pulling them up, harder fines and judges being harder on them - need to punish them properly," one participant said.

"Got to be a lot more work - get tougher on the recidivist drink drivers," another commented.

The survey's findings also backed Ministry of Transport data from 2012, which found 60 per cent of New Zealanders wanted lower alcohol limits for driving.

That had increased from 40 per cent in 2006.

The NPiS research also found the Daily News campaign, which ran from November 26 till December 22, had been more effective in getting the anti-drink-driving message out than television and other mediums. It found 42 participants had taken notice of the campaign in the newspaper while only 36 had seen TV ads against driving drunk.

Inspector Frank Grant, Taranaki rural area commander, was pleased with the campaign's results.

He said he would back any measures that would stop drivers getting behind the wheel drunk.

Mr Grant said overseas studies had indicated lowering the drink-driving levels had had a significant impact and he would be interested to see what difference the zero alcohol tolerance for drivers aged under 20 had made in New Zealand.

"If there is some significant improvement there then I would certainly support a view that we lower the tolerance levels for anyone who has been drinking."

He said reducing the tolerance for speeding drivers had lowered overall speeds.

Senior Sergeant Allan Whaley said police would continue the unique approach of visiting the region's worst recidivist offenders and offering them packages detailing what help is available.

Of the region's 50 worst offenders who were visited in November only one had reoffended.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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