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Auckland ramps up breath testing efforts

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Staff Reporter

21 June 2024, 12:09 AM

Auckland ramps up breath testing effortsLocals urged to plan transport options.

Auckland Transport (AT) and NZ Police have conducted a record-breaking number of breath tests over the past year, with over 900,000 tests administered between May 2023 and April 2024.

This initiative aims to curb alcohol-related crashes, which account for around 15 percent of deaths and serious injuries on Auckland’s roads annually.

“We want Auckland road users to know there will continue to be elevated levels of breath testing throughout the rest of the year so people will make informed choices about their transport options, particularly where alcohol will be involved,” said Teresa Burnett, General Manager Transport Safety at AT.

The number of breath tests has been steadily increasing, reaching a new peak this year compared to the 700,000 tests conducted in 2013.

This increase reflects a concerted effort by AT and NZ Police to enhance road safety.

Acting Inspector Jason McIntosh, Relieving Tāmaki Makaurau Road Policing Manager, highlighted the collaboration between road policing managers and a dedicated team of officers as key to the successful increase in breath testing.

“Our aim is to raise awareness of the drive drink free message and encourage positive behaviours, rather than focus only on those people found to be breaking the law,” he said.

Research indicates that 50 percent of Aucklanders believe they won’t be caught driving under the influence, despite 77 percent of drivers charged being male according to 2023 Ministry of Justice data.

To address this, officers will maintain a visible presence across the region to deter unsafe driving behaviour.

“By significantly increasing alcohol breath testing across Tāmaki Makaurau, the message we are sending is clear and we hope people pay attention,” said McIntosh.

With enhanced public transport options available, AT encourages residents to plan ahead, using public transport, sober drivers, or taxi services to ensure safe journeys home.

“Make sure you know all of the options available to get you home safely, just in case things don’t go to plan,” advised Burnett.

This initiative underscores the community's shared responsibility to drive safely and avoid unnecessary risks, particularly those associated with drinking and driving.