Police and the Vodafone Warriors joined forces in Auckland last night to push the importance of "driving drink free".
Auckland Transport and the Police's campaign saw a number of checkpoints set up in Auckland City and one in Counties Manukau.
Out of the approximated 3500 vehicles stopped as part of the exercise, 31 drivers have been summonsed to appear in court on excess breath alcohol charges.
Senior Sergeant Jono Chappell says Police were pleased overall with the behaviour of most motorists who went through the checkpoints, however the results show there is still much work to be done in reminding motorists not to get behind the wheel if they have been drinking.
Prizes were also handed out to sober drivers and passengers who had made arrangements to have a sober driver as a reward for their responsible driving behaviour.
“We are proud to be have the Vodafone Warriors alongside us to reiterate the importance of driving drink-free. It is great to see them standing alongside Police and Auckland Transport to take a stand against drink driving,” Senior Sergeant Chappell said.
“The Christmas/New Year’s period is a heightened risk period for motorists to be driving impaired as a result of the increased planned festivities and holiday period.
“Nearly a third of all fatal traffic crashes have alcohol as a contributing factor. We would like to see a mindset change in our road users to make plans prior to celebrating by either catching a cab/Uber or public transport, or make arrangements for a sober person to drive them.
“Our partnership with the Vodafone Warriors and Auckland transport is a fun and innovative way of rewarding those people who are making those responsible decisions and encouraging others to think in the same way in the future.
Motorists were pleasantly surprised to see the players handing out the rewards at the checkpoint.
"Police would like to thank to the Vodafone Warriors and Auckland Transport for making this joint operation possible,” says Senior Sergeant Chappell.
Vodafone Warriors CEO Cameron George said the club was pleased to once again play its part in helping to get the sober driving message across to people over the busy festive season, after a similar successful operation in August.
“As a club we want to do whatever we can to get the drive drink-free message through – particularly during the busy festive season,” he said.
“We need to curb our drink-driving rates and prevent death and injury on our roads and our players were really proud to be out there in our communities last night helping the cause.”
Auckland Transport’s chief executive Shane Ellison says the operation demonstrates that working together to reduce alcohol related crashes is key.
“We need to all work together to make our roads safer and the Vodafone Warriors are great advocates helping us and Police to spread the message of driving drink-free.”
Senior Sergeant Chappell says Police will be visible on the roads over summer.
“Our message to motorists is clear. If you are planning on drinking, have a plan ahead of time of how you will be getting home and stick to it.
“We don’t want to see any alcohol-related crashes on our roads and you can play your part by looking out for others and making sure they don’t get behind the wheel if they have been drinking.”