Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Return of Wellington impairment prevention team pays off

NZ Police say the figures do the talking when summing up the great work being done by Wellington’s Impairment Prevention Team (IPT).

The IPT was re-established in November last year to place a renewed focus on targeting impaired drivers across the district.

Across 57 checkpoints since that time, the IPT has tested 58,160 drivers. Of these, 2,706 drivers tested positive for alcohol, including 241 who had Excess Breath Alcohol (EBA) and were over the legal limit.

In addition, the team has given out 883 infringement notices for other RIDS offences, including lack of seatbelt, speed and using a cell phone while driving.

Officer signalling for a motorist to stop at a checkpoint.

Acting Road Policing Manager, Senior Sergeant Matt Fitzgerald says the IPT has been a “prevention powerhouse” when it comes to impairment.

“The highly visible operations being run by the IPT go a long way towards Wellington District ensuring our roads are safe and deterring potential drink drivers from getting behind the wheel,” he says.

With impairment being one of the four key causes of road deaths and serious injury, ultimately preventing more lives from being lost on local roads is what motivates the team.

The team of 10 constables is managed by acting Sergeant Ian Rickman, who possesses an endless enthusiasm for the mahi they do.

“We play a really important role in targeting drink drivers,” says Ian. “Unfortunately, this is still a big problem across the district.”

Officer chatting to a motorist at a checkpoint

The steady increase in the number of breath screening tests (BSTs) being completed is largely a credit to the work of the IPT, reflecting their outstanding efforts.

Police say the number of EBAs being processed, however, is very concerning and indicates a blasé attitude and culture towards drink driving.

In one case, a 17-year-old female decided to drive after drinking at her workplace on a Friday night. Her breath alcohol reading registered more than double the legal limit.

In another, a young man was sitting in tears in the back of a Police car after being caught drink driving.

The worst case the team encountered was an individual who blew 1220mcg and had their seven-year-old child in the car.

The IPT deploy across all parts of the district with visibility, varied deployment locations and covering as many arterial routes as possible being key principles of their deployment.

“We’ve received lots of positive feedback from drivers saying it’s good to see so many checkpoints about and thanking us for keeping the roads safe,” Ian says.

Latest Articles