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Offenders ignore drink-drive warnings

Wednesday May 11, 2016 Written by Published in Crime
Constable Martin Iro conducts a breathalyser test in this photo, staged by the Cook Islands Police Service for CI News last year. Police say they are fighting an uphill battle against drink-drivers, with many repeat offenders still on the roads. 16051011 Constable Martin Iro conducts a breathalyser test in this photo, staged by the Cook Islands Police Service for CI News last year. Police say they are fighting an uphill battle against drink-drivers, with many repeat offenders still on the roads. 16051011

Warnings on the dangers of drink-driving seem to be falling on deaf ears, says Police Commissioner Maara Tetava.

 

He told CI News in a statement yesterday that many drivers continue to blatantly defy safety messages and the law, and drink-driving is still “a big problem” in the Cook Islands.

And while there has recently been strong public criticism of the Cook Islands Police Service and negative comments about it from some sections of the community, police officers will continue to do the best they can to keep roads safe, Tetava says.

He is appealing to the community to help by encouraging friends and family members not to drive after they have consumed alcohol.

“Unfortunately, we cannot cover all our roads 24/7 and this is where the community can help. Call the police if you see and or know of these drivers, so that we can deploy our policing teams to stop them before they hurt themselves or others.

“Our police teams come across these drivers, time and time again.

“We prosecute those who we have evidence to prosecute and forbid from driving those who we consider are incapable of handling their motor vehicles.

But the message does not seem to get through, as some of these drivers do the same over and over again, even after having been dealt with by the courts

“One only has to read the court reports in CI News to realise the extent of the problem in our country,” Tetava says.

“We continue to deal with many convicted and disqualified drivers, who continue to defy court orders.”

The police commissioner says records show that over 90 people have been disqualified by the courts.

“Most of these drivers were disqualified after being convicted for drink driving offences.

“Over the past month, a total of 16 motor vehicle crashes occurred on our roads in Rarotonga and many of them involved drivers who had been consuming alcohol.

“Sadly, this behaviour and or attitude have led to tragic consequences in the past and will continue to do so in the future if people do not adhere to the message that they should not drink and drive.”

Tetava says many families are hurting and will continue to be so for many years to come due to the loss of their loved ones in crashes where alcohol consumption, speed and carelessness were contributing factors.

“We must do everything we can to stop this. Our police officers are on the road day and night to do the best they can to stop it.

“But the whole community must step up and help. The courts are doing what they can by applying the laws of our country.”

The moment a drunk driver gets onto a motorcycle or vehicle intending to drive, there will be serious consequences, Tetava says.

“It will only be a matter of time before that person hits something or someone on our roads.” 

                - Release/CS

3 comments

  • Comment Link Keith richardson Friday, 13 May 2016 17:41 posted by Keith richardson

    After visiting Rarotonga for the second time,
    It seems to me that the major part of local industry revolves around bars/food without
    any way of getting to the next destination after having consumed alcohol.
    The only cabs I saw were there for the incoming flights,maybe the bars could do regular trips round the island's on popular
    Night's and times with a ferry service?
    Wouldn't be to dear if they all paid a small levy....
    Just thinking aloud,Lovely place to visit,
    Lovely people

  • Comment Link Maiah Thursday, 12 May 2016 10:48 posted by Maiah

    That is a good idea to decrease the accidents happening in rarotonga although young ones doesnt listen or ignore what the police are saying, well at least you have warned them before touching the alcohol. Good way of makin things slow by using a breath test. Keep it up. For the safety of our lifes.

  • Comment Link John Wednesday, 11 May 2016 17:08 posted by John

    I accept that the photograph is staged but it would seem that the police officer is conducting a breath test on a passenger in the vehicle.