Cook Islands Police Service spokesman Trevor Pitt says “a record high” was reached in 2014 when there were 267 reported crashes. Up to the end of November this year, there have been 253.
“December is now looking crucial as the anticipated number of motor vehicle crashes is likely to reach beyond those of 2014.”
The police want some serious attention paid to the warnings and messages around driving on Rarotonga in the lead up to Christmas and the New Year festivities, says Prevention Commander Inspector John Strickland.
“The public needs to take note and digest just how much care and consideration is required on our roads,
“The risks are too great to ignore,” Strickland says. “The costs are too high to endure.”
Police are heading into the festive season with deep concerns over the failure of drivers to heed the safety messages.
Speeding, drink-driving, careless behaviour are the leading causes of crashes but safety messages do not appear to be sinking in, causing “endless frustration”, Strickland says.
“Police intelligence data on road and traffic incidents show just how much of a concern safety should be for the entire community. The numbers of incidents are both revealing and alarming. Prosecutions are rising, disqualified drivers are at a record high of 148, and fatalities have exceeded those of last year.
“No one should have to be inflicted with tragedy – at this or any time of the year.
“We want everyone to enjoy the festivities, but to be mindful of their responsibility to exercise the care that will keep us all safe on the road.”
The police road safety campaign will continue throughout the festive season. However, Pitt did not comment on whether the campaign would run at the same intensity as last year’s, when random checkpoints were a daily sight around the island.