• Video: Expect to see police everywhere and anytime during festive season, says region's top roading police officer

Video: Expect to see police everywhere and anytime during festive season, says region's top roading police officer

People travelling around Hawke’s Bay over the festive season should expect to see police everywhere and at any time, says Eastern Districts Road Police Manager Inspector Angela Hallett.

Hallet says her top priority over the summer is the safety of everyone on the roads.

“It's a time of year when everyone's going to see their loved ones, traveling on the open roads to other cities. We really want our roads to be safe places to travel for all New Zealanders and visitors here.”

“The key message is to expect to see police anywhere, any time. We'll be doing more visible checkpoints, as we'd always do this time of year. Expect to get breath-tested every time you're stopped, no matter what time of day. We also have zero tolerance around speeds or other breaches, so please take it seriously.”

She says the main reason there is a focus on speed is because the faster a person travels and has a collision, the less chance of survival.

“We don't want to be door-knocking on people's houses to tell them that your loved ones have been killed in a crash. That's one of the worst things we have to do this time of year.”

Asked if drink driving was a big problem at this time of the year, Hallett says it is an issue throughout the year.

“It's pretty bad actually all year round. We probably detect more in the evenings and in this time of year. We focus it even more on our checkpoints. But what you'll see is we are actually doing checkpoints earlier in the evening to try and deter people from taking their next drink before they are over the limit.”

“Getting pulled over and getting a secondary test where you blow in the tube, I think, is really waking people up to the fact that the level that they're able to take is very low.”

She advices to plan the trip home before going to a function.

“If you're having drinks after work, think about it the day before, how are you going to get there, how are you going to get home. Arrange a ride with a friend, taxi, Uber, whatever you've got available in your area so that you don't drive home after you've had some drinks.”

Asked what police would advice the average person to drink if they are driving home, Hallett was direct: “I don't suggest any.”

Hallett says that another major issue on the road is driver fatigue, which is why there has been RoadSafe advertising around that.

“We do fatigue stops jointly with other agencies, encouraging people to pull over and have a bit of a break, have a cup of tea or water or something. Just a bit of a break from the concentration on the road.”

“Obviously, in Hawke's Bay and Te Tairāwhiti, we've been badly impacted on our roads by Cyclone Gabrielle, so people need to take their time. There's still roadworks and road workers out there fixing the roads. There's still parts of our roads that are damaged, so we need to take extra care still. We're not there yet as far as having everything repaired.”

She says that key messages police wanted to get through are:

<![if !supportLists]>-        <![endif]>“Is it worth getting there 10 minutes earlier when you're traveling to another city by taking risks or just peel back your speed a little bit and you'll get there safely? Is it worth your life looking away from your window to look at your phone? It's not. So you just take time to think about setting yourself up in the car before you go. So your phone's on silent, that you have no distractions and you're really alert and looking at what's in front or behind you.”

<![if !supportLists]>-        <![endif]>“Travel at the speed of life. RoadSafe has some really good messaging around this you'll see on the television and newspapers and other forums. The speed limit's not a target. We want you to travel under the speed limit at a safe speed.”

<![if !supportLists]>-        <![endif]>“Wear your seat belts. That's a really key thing. So yeah, always wear your seatbelt on a vehicle. Make sure your passengers are wearing seat belts. Make sure children have the correct restraints for their age and size.”

Watch the accompanying video to see the interview with Inspector Angela Hallett