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‘Reckless’ drink driver cops warning

Thursday November 29, 2018 Written by Published in Crime

A male tourist who posted a video on Facebook of himself driving recklessly, drinking, speeding, not wearing a helmet and performing off-road stunts has been let off with a warning, provoking anger on social media from locals.


The male tourist was tracked down by the police on Monday night and brought in for questioning, said Cook Islands Police Service spokesman Trevor Pitt. 

“Stern words of warning were issued, but no arrest was made.

“The man told police the video was comprised of separate clips on different occasions. The upload was deleted, but the police had already made a copy. The unlawful driving did not appear to place any other motorist at risk, but was seriously irresponsible.

“This behaviour is not welcome on Rarotonga.”

Pitt said tourists needed to be aware that Rarotonga roads are in fact dangerously deceptive. The road environment is unlike New Zealand and Australia and can be unpredictable and risky. Rental companies should also encourage visitors about road safety – not just to help the police, but to prevent tragedy.

“The mistreatment of rental motorbikes with reckless stunts is another matter.”

Police had received “solid information” from Facebook users about the incident, Pitt added.

“Good work and stay safe on the road.”

News that the tourist had been let off with a warning provoked numerous comments on the police Facebook page, with one person saying the man should have been charged and had his licence confiscated.

“You don't wait for idiots to become dead idiots before applying the rule of law.”

“Here’s my disappointment where our law enforces have failed us all,” another post read. “We put on checkpoints for our school children just before they get to school and when they’re found breaking our road rules, they get fined. Now this stranger comes with clear evidence and breaks not one, not two but three and more and he got away easy…”

“Not good enough letting him off our own local people getting fined for no helmet or going over the speed limit,” another post read, while another suggested the police may have been paid “under the table.”

“Never mind the potholes and dogs, carry on speeding and pulling your stunts guys. You will either end up dead or seriously injured,” a tongue-in-cheek commentator said. “Our roads are not safe nor is it smooth sailing. You will eventually get from A to B driving 40km”

Another person wrote: “The police need very much to reconsider charging him; the outcomes for his behaviour could have ended so differently if he had hit someone. Such a reckless person with no consideration for others and his behaviour; people like him are dangerous.”

Another commentator said, “Firstly, the tourist mentioned that the clip is of several occasions (multiple fines just here), he wasn't wearing a helmet (instant $100 fine), driving while intoxicated (another fine), Driving while drinking alcohol (possibly another fine) and finally speeding which could have caused harm – the most dangerous of all! If a life was lost by careless driving, would this be the only occasion a fine would be in place?”

Asked to comment, Pitt said police had deemed a warning appropriate, but with “concerns”.

“The police did consider prosecution, which would have been the first such case using Facebook video as evidence,” he added.

“But given (the man) did not put anyone else in immediate danger and his acknowledged stupidity, and that he was departing last evening, the police were prepared to read the riot act and let it be known he is not welcome back with that sort of carry-on,” Pitt said.

“The police are frustrated with this behaviour by a few, and there won't be a next time.”

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