Police ready to strike 'at any time'

Police ramp up efforts to catch drink-drivers

NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 09:04 14/03/2014
Police breath testing
CARYS MONTEATH/The Press

RAMPING UP EFFORTS: Police have "reinvigorated" their checks after changes to the WOF system extended the time between checks for newer vehicles.

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Christchurch drivers should expect to be stopped "any time, any place" as police ramp up efforts to catch drink-drivers and unsafe vehicles.

A checkpoint on central Christchurch's busy Barbadoes St about 1pm yesterday found several drivers who had been drinking, but none were deemed over the limit.

Canterbury's interim road policing manager, acting Inspector Glenn Nalder, said police often caught people driving over the limit during the day.

"Checkpoints during the city during the day are not unusual at all. You can be breath-tested any time, any place."

The Barbadoes St checkpoint was in place for about an hour yesterday, catching one disqualified driver and another whose licence had been suspended. Both drivers had their vehicles impounded.

Nalder said several motorists received fines for "various defects". Officers were checking vehicles to make sure they were roadworthy.

Police always took an interest in vehicle safety, but they had "reinvigorated" their checks after changes to the warrant-of-fitness system extended the time between checks for newer vehicles, he said.

Every vehicle stopped was subject to a five-point "twirl test" - checking tyres, windscreens, indicators, rust and lights.

Nalder said police were mindful that daytime checkpoints could disrupt traffic, but efforts were made to keep any inconvenience to a minimum, especially on roads already disrupted by earthquake damage and roadworks.

However, the potential damage caused by a drink-driver far outweighed the inconvenience of going through a checkpoint.

"The vast majority of the population don't drink and drive . . . but let me tell you, it does happen, that's why we run these drink-driving checkpoints," he said.

"These drivers are out there, putting you and I at risk and we want to get them off the road."

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