'Atrocious' week on Waikato roads

PHILLIPA YALDEN
Last updated 17:47 05/09/2014

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A driver who blew over twice the legal breath alcohol limit and a teacher fined for speeding past a school were just two of a number of incidents that made for an "atrocious" week on Waikato's roads.

On Wednesday police stopped a driver at the base of the Kaimai Ranges on State Highway 29 who blew 676mgms of alcohol per litre of breath. The legal limit is 400mgms.

District road policing manager Inspector Freda Grace said around the same time officers in Hamilton breath-tested two other drivers, who both returned results over 600mgms.

"Then a driver stopped for travelling at 100km/h in an 80km/h speed zone by the Te Rapa dairy factory returned a breath test result of 952mgms, the legal alcohol limit for a fully licensed driver is 400."

On Thursday, 1655 cars were stopped by police in Hamilton.

"Of concern for us 50 drivers had been drinking, though none exceeded the current legal alcohol limit, but that is still an awful lot.

"Things weren't so good over in the Eastern Waikato where one man was stopped between Paeroa and Thames and returned a breath test result of 662mgms."

Earlier in the day a suspended driver had his car impounded after being stopped travelling at 170km/h on the Waikato Expressway.

"So speed, as well as alcohol are real focus areas for us at the moment, as they should be for the motoring public when you consider our road toll is currently 24 in the Waikato compared to 16 for the same period last year.

"To address this we've also been targeting speed around our schools all this week with some interesting results."

A driver stopped outside a Hamilton school on Monday was travelling at 67km/h in a 40km/h school speed zone, said Grace.

"The driver had very little comeback when his pre-school aged daughter sitting in a car seat wound down her window. In a very polite voice she pointed out to our officer - 'excuse me Mr Policeman, my daddy always speeds."

"On a less humorous note, police stopped a driver travelling past a Cambridge school travelling at 71km/h while a teacher at a secondary school in the town learned a valuable lesson when stopped and issued an infringement notice for driving at 66km/h."

Grace said such behaviour outside of schools simply couldn't and shouldn't be tolerated, as it puts other drivers and vulnerable children at risk

"We even had a woman travelling through a school zone on Tuesday afternoon travelling at a speed of 86km/h while on the way to the doctor's.

"Taking the time to calm her down our staff arranged so she could still be seen by the doctor as well as issuing her a ticket for her speed."

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"Another driver passing Ohaupo Primary School on Tuesday told our officer he was distracted by his music, which is why his speed was 95km/h in a 70km/h zone.

Around the same time another man was stopped travelling at 91km/h outside a school in a 70km/h speed zone in Maramarua.

Grace said some of the drivers' excuses for excessive speed outside schools tested her officers' patience and tolerance.

"A real common excuse is it's not my car - what relevance is that to the speed you're travelling past a school? Another is they were distracted. How would you feel if you hit a child while you were talking on the phone?

"Drivers need to be aware that police are changing our tactics to try and make Waikato roads safer by encouraging drivers to ensure they are compiling with the rules.

"What is good to see is that at the same time other motorists are less tolerant of speeding or drunk drivers going by the number of driver complaint calls we are getting."

- Waikato Times

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