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Drink driver, speeding offences rise
Masterton offending out on it’s own

EMMA BROWN
emma.brown@age.co.nz

Excess breath alcohol offences in Wairarapa have steadily risen over the past four years, while speeding offences detected by police spiked in the 2018-19 year, according to statistics obtained through the Official Information Act.

Wairarapa Road Safety Council road safety manager Bruce Pauling logged the OIA on five types of offending – drugged driving, excess breath and blood [EBA] offences, graduated driver licence offending [GDL] such as learner and restricted licence breaches, speed camera offences and drivers stopped by police for speeding.

The statistics related to Martinborough, Featherston, Greytown, Carterton, and Masterton for the financial years from 2015-16 through to 2018-19 [July 1 to June 30] with the final year’s information still waiting upon June’s offences.

Pauling said the findings were of concern.

“We would have liked to see a more pronounced downwards trending of these offences, especially as they are all directly related to the safety of our locals on our roads.

“Taking into account this year’s provisional data, there are more offences to be recorded till the end of June 2019.

“The trauma and social costs of these crashes are immense. A lot of work is being done by government agencies, road safety councils, local councils, the AA, ACC, police and other road safety partners to reduce these statistics.”

EBA offences have gradually crept up from 219 in 2015-16 to 272 in 2018-19, with June offences to be added in.

“Speed and drink driving offending is still of grave concern. It highlights national statistics where drivers in the provinces are still putting themselves and others at risk by driving under the influence of alcohol,” Pauling said.

“There have been four alcohol related fatal crashes and seven serious injury crashes in Wairarapa since 2016.”

Speed camera offences are down significantly on last year – 3504 Wairarapa-wide, with June to come, as opposed to 4977 in 2017-18 and 5397 in 2016-17.

However, officer detected speed was at its highest level for the four years collated, with 2568 drivers having to say, “fair cop”.

In Masterton alone 1795 drivers were pulled over in 2018-19, while only 1031 saw the sirens behind them in 2017-18.

Since 2017, there have been four speed-related fatal crashes and 15 serious crashes in the region. Drug driving offences have a small presence with only 18 across the four years.

GDL offences decreased from a 2015-16 high of 1427 to a provisional tally of 959 for 2018-19.

Pauling’s advice to parents is, “to make sure they know where the novice drivers are and that they are adhering to the conditions”.

Offending can affect insurance, he said.

The vast majority of offending was in Masterton where over the four years more than 22,000 offences were logged over the five categories.

Featherston was next with 3406 offences, followed by Carterton with 2984, Greytown with 2591, and Martinborough with 431.

Pauling said the statistics show that some people were still not getting the message.

“How many times do we have to say, slow down and drive to the conditions, do not drive drunk or drugged, and always wear seatbelts,” he said.

“If we all spread the messages, especially to those who don’t think the road rules apply to them, and we all know some of them, hopefully our roads will be safer for all.”