Dunedin police blitz NZ's 'worst' drivers

22:14, Jul 07 2014

Dunedin drivers, identified as the worst in the country - and getting worse, are the target of police attention.

During an hour-long campaign in just one area of the city yesterday, officers issued more than a dozen infringement notices to drivers and cyclists for using cellphones, failing to stop at a stop sign, running amber lights, and cyclists not wearing helmets.

Dunedin Clutha Waitaki area prevention manager Inspector Mel Aitken told the Otago Daily Times new preliminary figures showed reported crashes in the central city had risen about 11 per cent over the past year, compared with 2012-13.

NZ Transport Agency figures released in November showed the city, with a population of 120,246, had 354 fatal and injury crashes in the past year. Per capita that was the worst of any major centre in the country.

Hamilton, population 141,615, clocked up 259 fatal and injury crashes; Wellington 190,956, had 319; Christchurch 341,469, ticked up 839, and Auckland, with 1,433,000, had 2792.

With fresh local figures out, Dunedin police had their eyes on crash figures rising further.