Police vow alcohol watch

18:33, Feb 11 2013

Timaru police are to continue their high visibility checkpoint campaign following a busy weekend of drink-driving offences.

The police make no apology for their campaign after eight people were caught drink-driving on Friday and Saturday.

Sergeant Simon Heeley said officers would continue to target drink-drivers, particularly those who are known recidivist drink-drivers.

"We ask for the public's co-operation and patience if stopped during these checks, which have proven to be a very effective means of both detecting and deterring those who continue to drink and drive despite the risk to themselves and the public."

Repeat drink-drivers caught by the Timaru police are facing tougher penalties as part of the Government's Safer Journeys Strategy.

Drink-drivers, who reoffend within five years, will be issued with a pink licence after serving their disqualification period. Their new licence will come with an automatic zero alcohol tolerance and will last for three years.


The law change, aimed at cracking down on the country's recidivist drink-drivers, was introduced late last year.

As part of the crackdown, recidivist drink-drivers in South Canterbury were among the first in the country to be given the option of installing an alcohol interlock device in their car.

Drivers apply for the device after three months without a licence, and once installed the car will not go if alcohol is detected in a breath sample.

The aim is to make it more difficult for drink-drivers to reoffend.

New technology and changes to the law are coming in handy for Timaru police, following the busy period of drink-driving offences.

A 63-year-old Timaru man stopped by police on Friday night had eight previous drink-driving convictions.

Last weekend, in one shift alone, five people were processed for drink-driving, including two youths who are subject to a zero alcohol limit. Both youths blew above 900mcg, more than twice the adult level.

Anyone with one of the new pink licences, who returns a reading between 0 and 400, or has a blood reading of up to 80mg, are subject to higher conviction penalties, including a maximum prison sentence of three months, a $2250 fine and a minimum of three months' disqualification.

A person with a reading that exceeds 400mcg or a blood reading that exceeds 80mg can expect even greater penalties, including two years' imprisonment, a $6000 fine and disqualification for a year.

The Timaru Herald