A spokesman for the Cook Islands Police Service says while this may seem harsh to some, the consequences of drink driving are much harsher as the outcome in most cases are serious injuries and or death.
“This penalty is supposed to deter drivers not to drink and drive. Unfortunately, some drivers are not deterred as they continue to defy their court imposed disqualifications.
“On January 21, a driver was disqualified from driving for the second time. He was charged for having an excess breath alcohol reading of 1010 micrograms per litre of breath which is almost three times over the 400 micrograms per litre prescribed by law. He was apprehended by police officers conducting traffic duties training.
“In 2014 this same driver as a result of a motor vehicle crash was charged with Excessive Blood Alcohol (EBA), having recorded a reading over twice the limit of 80 micrograms of alcohol per litre of blood.”
Sadly this is not an isolated case in the Cook Islands, the spokesman says.
“Another person currently on disqualification as a result of a drink driving offence of which he has a history of seven similar convictions was again arrested last week for the same offence.
“This person’s last conviction included three-month custodial sentence which was followed by an alcohol ban and 12 months’ disqualification. But this did not deter him.
“One only has to read the Court reports in the Cook Islands News to know that there are many more drivers who are in similar a situation as the above two.
The spokesman says this kind of behaviour is very disappointing as it is only a matter of time before these same drivers cause a crash which may kill or cause serious harm to them or others on our roads.
“If these drivers are not able to help themselves, maybe family members should step up by taking their vehicle keys or vehicles off them if they have been drinking, or offering to be the sober driver if they have had alcohol.
“They can also make arrangements for pick up when they have finished their drinking.
“As soon as a drink driver gets behind the wheels of a vehicle or the handle bars of a motorcycle and the vehicle has moved, it is already too late. This driver has just become a risk to everyone using our roads at that time.”
The spokesman says attitudes must change now and everyone must take the lead.
“Too many of our people have suffered and continue to suffer as a result of crashes on our roads.
“The solution is quite simple really. If you drink alcohol, stay away from sitting behind the wheels of your vehicle or from behind the handle bars of your motorcycle or better still don’t touch the ignition keys of your vehicles. Find a safer way to get to where you want to go to.”
The spokesman says that as part of the police road safety programme, officers will continue to target disqualified drivers, drunk drivers, careless drivers and speedsters.
“These are the people who will potentially cause serious harm not only to themselves but also to others.”