With the busy summer holiday season getting underway, Southern Police are stepping up their enforcement and monitoring of popular holiday driving routes with a number of road policing operations planned.
One operation which began last weekend involved police using unmarked highway patrol cars to actively monitor holiday routes between Omarama and Milford Sound.
Data gathered by police indicated that there had been a steady increase in the number of *555 calls from members of the public reporting risky driving on these routes.
Police conducted the first of a number of planned operations last weekend from Friday, November 21 until Monday, November 24.
More than 200 infringement notices were issued over four days for speed and poor driving offences.
In one example, Police stopped a driver with three passengers travelling at 177km/h on SH8 near Omarama at 9.30am on Saturday, November 22.
The driver was breath-tested and returned a positive reading for alcohol (603mcg) in what was his fourth drink-driving offence. The Christchurch resident was charged with dangerous driving and excess breath alcohol.
During the four-day operation the majority of infringement notices issued were for speed above the posted speed limit.
Southern Highway Patrol Sergeant Peter Muldrew said the focus of these operations was to try to get the public to realise police do not have a tolerance when it comes to speeding.
“Our aim is to keep the road toll down and prevent injuries.”
Acting Road Policing manager Senior Sergeant Steve Larking said people needed to control their own speed and driving behaviour as other people make mistakes.
“In a highway crash, your speed can be the difference between life, death or serious injury; or being able to avoid a crash when someone else makes a mistake.”
The operation, running from November to March, will provide an increased focus and highly visible police presence on holiday routes in the Southern District, he said.
“We know that we get lots of complaints about driving behaviour on these roads over the summer.
“The high police presence is aimed at deterring bad driving behaviour, preventing and reducing crashes, and responding quickly and effectively to complaints from the public.”
Police will also continue to use unmarked highway patrol cars throughout the coming months and speed cameras will be deployed across Southland and Otago over the holiday period.