The battle against drink-driving is getting buy-in from the country’s best-known nightclub.
Rehab owner Scott Arlander has attended a drink-drive education programme hosted by the Road Safety Council this week.
It was “a real eye opener and people should attend,” he said. “It’s about raising awareness of the ripple effects of drink-driving.”
His comments come after a man smashed his bike into the Nikao seawall in the early hours of the morning, after drinking too much at Vaiana’s and then Rehab.
Jag Love admitted driving with excess blood alcohol, and careless driving. He has been ordered to pay $800 in court fines and medical costs.
Police prosecutor senior sergeant Fairoa Tararo said the incident took place at 1am on October 10 and reported to police by staff at the Rarotonga Hospital. Love had been consuming alcohol at Vaiana’s Bar on the night of October 9, then continued on at Rehab.
Tararo said Love clocked in at 254mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.
Alcohol is a factor in most of the country’s fatal and serious injury crashes, imposing enormous emotional and financial costs on families and the health system, the Road Safety Council warns.
This week, the Council’s drink-drive education programme has been running courses with Cook Islanders on probation for alcohol related driving offences – as well as interested members of the public who want to reduce the risk to themselves and their loved ones.
Council executive member Brent Fisher said a few people have joined the programme voluntarily looking for help with their drinking.
After just one alcoholic drink, motorists are less safe on the road, Fisher said. And also, their judgement is immediately impaired to the point where they are more likely to think they can have a second or third or fourth drink, then get on their bike and ride home.
Those who have witnessed deaths from drink driving incidents, are sharing their stories at this week’s education programme. “There’s nobody in that room that will have a dry eye,” said Fisher.
The visiting paramedics and police officers running the programme will also be conducting an educational course with the prisoners at the prison today.
The programme is run by two ambulance paramedics and two police from New Zealand. It includes an activity where they use special impairment goggles to demonstrate the impact of just a few drinks.
The programme is part-funded by the New Zealand High Commission.