Thinking of drinking and driving this festive season? Think again.
Police from across Counties Manukau will come together for Operation Pop Up, running from December 15-24, with a focus on breath test checkpoints throughout the day and night across the district.
Counties Manukau Road policing manager Inspector Tony Wakelin says police want to ensure a safe and happy Christmas for the community this year with the aim of making sure everyone gets home safely.
Wakelin says police will focus not only on main roads but will also run ‘pop-up’ style checkpoints on smaller, rural and urban roads with an emphasis on targeting people driving to and from end of year functions and those taking the back roads to avoid checkpoints.
“Traditionally this time of year is when businesses and workplaces finish up for the year and have functions, which leads to an increase in the number of people driving under the influence of alcohol,” Wakelin says.
“In 2023 (as of October 19), there have been 26 fatal crashes and 144 crashes resulting in serious injuries in Counties Manukau, often with a link to the driver being impaired by alcohol or drugs.
“Alcohol can severely impair driving performance and increase the risk of crash involvement, even at low-to-medium doses.
“Enforcement though the delivery of random and targeted alcohol testing is overall effective in preventing and reducing alcohol-involved driving and associated road trauma.”
Wakelin says this festive season, police will be putting more staff on the roads and conducting an increased number of breath testing checkpoints and are appealing to business owners to also encourage their staff to spread the message to make a plan to get home safely.
“While, ultimately, the driver is responsible for their actions, we would like to see more businesses and employers considering their employees’ well-being by ensuring either designated sober drivers or alternative transport is available, By doing this you may save their life or someone else’s,” says Wakelin.
“A 100 per cent successful campaign for police will be thousands of breath screening tests conducted with zero drivers over the limit.
“We do not want to catch people drink driving – we want to prevent them doing so.
“We are not the fun police, have your fun but please, be safe on our roads and don’t drink and drive.
“If you drive impaired you may lose your licence, or worse, someone’s life.”