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Published: 2003-11-05 00:00:00

Young drinkers aged 17 to 19 are a growing problem in drink driving statistics.This week’s Environment Waikato Road Safety Subcommittee heard that young drinkers in the two year bracket represent 22 percent of all drink impaired drivers caught.

Police inspector Leo Tooman said drivers aged between 20 and 30 are 31 percent of drink drivers, with those aged 31 to 40 making up 22 percent. Of those caught drinking and driving, 79 percent are male and 21 percent female, but there is a growing number of young women drivers aged 17 to 19 causing problems, he said.

The biggest times for drink driving are Thursday nights, Saturday night and Sunday mornings. Police patrols are regularly picking up 10 to 12 drunk motorists on a Friday morning when people were heading to work, still drunk from the previous night, he said.

Maori are over-represented in alcohol statistics, forming 41 percent of drink drivers apprehended when they were only 18 to 19 percent of the population. Licensed premises were doing better in not serving alcohol impaired drivers and 45 percent of those caught had drunk at private homes.

The effect of cannabis use and P or methamphetamine was not known, he said.
“I don’t think that we realise as a nation what P can do to people.”

The Waikato can only have four more deaths over the next two months to reach its target of 45 deaths for the year after a poor year on the roads. Police are concentrating on speed, seatbelts and alcohol as the main issues.

Of the speeding notices, 42 percent were for speeds 11 to 15 kph above the speed limit, but there were still motorists caught at 160 to 180 kph, he said. There had been a considerable increase in speed at the newly completed expressway sections at Longswamp and Ohinewai.
“Overseas drivers seem to believe that there is no speed limit on expressways.”

Work was being done to ensure 100 kph signs were erected to remind drivers of the speed limit.