SOUTHLAND police say reckless and dangerous behaviour displayed by some motorists has to stop.
Concern is growing about drivers who fail to stop when signalled by police, with increased incidents prompting police to speak out.
Southland Police area investigation manager Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Baird said the behaviour was dangerous and putting people’s lives at risk.
“If you decide to flee, you are putting yourself, your passengers, police staff and the public at risk of being injured or worse.”
Police were committed to making our roads safer and would put safety ahead of immediate apprehension of a fleeing driver, he said.
“Instead, we will follow up with other investigation techniques, witnesses, officer knowledge and avenues of inquiry to identify the vehicle and driver so they can be held to account.”
Drivers were being reminded if they failed to stop for red and blue flashing lights they could receive a $10,000 fine.
Dangerous or reckless driving could carry a $4500 fine, three months’ imprisonment and a mandatory six-month disqualification.
Police also had the power to seize vehicles for 28 days in these types of incidents.
“Losing your licence or having your vehicle impounded may impact on your ability to work and provide for your family, so we’re urging drivers to act safely and stop when signalled by police.”
Police would use discretion if dealing with young fleeing drivers and vehicle occupants.
The number of unlicensed drivers in the region was highlighted recently in the Waihopai Toetoe Community Board agenda.
It states police and other stakeholders had reported a significant number of newcomers to the region did not have licences and many were driving illegally.
“We have identified this is particularly an issue for those living in the Southland district, living and working on dairy farms,” the report states.
“A number of reasons have been identified for this including cost, language barriers, and limited testing stations.”
The Southland District Council has partnered with the Invercargill City Council, Gore District Council, and Southern REAP to lodge a funding application for a pilot extension to Southern REAP’s life
The programme focuses on supporting Southland’s newcomers to get driver licences.