Community Scoop

Multi-agency task force to keep Christchurch roads safe

Press Release – New Zealand Police

A major multi-agency road safety operation starts today as authorities step up efforts to keep Christchurch roads safe in the lead-up to Christmas. Operation Traction will be led by Christchurch Police supported by New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA), the …Multi-agency task force to keep Christchurch roads safe

A major multi-agency road safety operation starts today as authorities step up efforts to keep Christchurch roads safe in the lead-up to Christmas.

Operation Traction will be led by Christchurch Police supported by New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA), the Ministry of Justice Collections Unit, Christchurch City Council (CCC), and Students Against Drink Driving (SADD).

Canterbury Road Policing Manager Inspector Al Stewart says the operation will involve more than 50 staff from the Canterbury road policing group, supplemented by Police from Tasman district and staff from the other agencies.

“We will be running high volume checkpoints in Christchurch city over three nights from Thursday through Saturday this week,” he says. “Three checkpoints will be running at different locations, targeting drunk and drugged drivers, high risk drivers – such as those who are disqualified, unlicensed, or who have fines in default – as well as unsafe or defective vehicles.

“NZTA transport officers will be on hand to carry out vehicle inspections, Ministry of Justice bailiffs will be targeting fines, and the City Council and SADD will also be on site at checkpoints.”

Operation Traction will involve 30 vehicles, including four booze buses, operating across the wider Christchurch metro area.

“The lead-up to Christmas brings with it increased risks on our roads,” Inspector Stewart says. “Roads can be busier, drivers can be stressed and rushing to get that last minute shopping done. This time of year also sees many work functions, family get-togethers and other celebrations – often involving alcohol.

“The message we want Christchurch drivers to get is slow down and drive at a safe speed. Be alert and stay off your cellphone when driving. Most of all don’t drink and drive. Plan your night out, plan for a sober driver or taxi.”

“The road toll in Canterbury this year is significantly lower than previous years. Nonetheless we still have 28 Cantabrians that aren’t around to celebrate Christmas, so this holiday season will be pretty sombre for those loved ones left behind.

“Operation Traction is a great opportunity for Police to work closely with our road safety partners. Together we will provide a more comprehensive approach to road safety and ensure our roads are increasingly free of fatal and serious injury crashes.”

Greg Allnutt, Regional Manager for the NZTA Access and Use says, “The NZTA has teamed up with the other participating agencies to do our part to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the holiday period safely. We are focused on ensuring the safe standard of vehicles on the road and helping to educate road users about the safe use of their vehicles.

“We are also very supportive of the Police message reminding people not to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, putting their own or other lives at risk. We encourage people to drive safely, enjoy the festive season and to look after each other. If they notice someone considering driving under the influence, then step in and be a legend.”

Ministry of Justice Collections General Manager Bryre Patchell says joint operations, such as Operation Traction, are one example of government agencies working together to make communities safer. “It is important those who owe fines pay them. People need to know that fines don’t just go away. People can check their fines balance and pay by contacting the court on 0800 434 637.”

Christchurch City Council’s ‘Plan Ahead Don’t Drink and Drive’ campaign, will have the assistance of Students Against Drink Driving (SADD) over the lead up to Christmas. The students will be assisting Police at the alcohol checkpoints handing out planning tip cards to drivers, which have information on blood alcohol concentration levels, taxis and alternate transport contact numbers to assist drivers plan for safe driving when drinking.

The Mayor Bob Parker says he hopes the campaign would assist drivers to take care on the roads and plan their travel over the festive season. “It is great to see young Christchurch people taking affirmative action on drink driving issues and being role models to bring home to drivers the importance of sober driving” he says.

Inspector Stewart says there will be additional Police on Christchurch roads throughout the pre-Christmas period. “We will be running additional checkpoints and all drivers can expect to be breath tested. Drunk or disqualified drivers will be removed from the road. If an unsafe vehicle is being used, it will be removed from the road.”

“Together we will do our best to make sure every journey is a safe journey and no family has to endure the tragedy of losing a loved one on our roads this Christmas.”


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