2.47 million breath tested during 2001/02

  • George Hawkins

Police breath tested 2.74m New Zealanders in the fiscal year 2001 and 2002, Police Minister George Hawkins said today.

Figures released by police yesterday show 1.67m people were compulsorily tested at dedicated alcohol checkpoints and 800,000 by random mobile patrols during the period.

In previous fiscal years, the total was 2.2m in 2000/01, compared with 1.78m in 1999/00 and 1.85m in 1998/99.

Calendar year figures from 1 December 2001 to November 2002 totalled 2.3m people tested, including 1.53m at dedicated alcohol checkpoints and 826,000 via random mobile patrols.

Mr Hawkins said the figures highlighted how seriously police took the problem of drunk driving.

“With the Christmas New Year holiday period upon us, the message to those who choose to drink and drive is that they could be stopped and breathalysed anywhere, anytime,” Mr Hawkins said.

Mr Hawkins and Transport Minister Paul Swain yesterday issued a challenge to make 2002 the year the country celebrated its lowest ever road toll.

With 387 deaths as of yesterday compared with 431 at the same time last year, New Zealand’s annual road toll was on track to be the lowest since 1964. The official 2001 road toll was 455.

The Christmas holiday and New Year period begins today at 4pm and will end at 6am, Friday 3 January.