Motorists cop a serve from police

Monday January 15, 2018 Written by Published in Local
Police kept a close eye on all manner of traffi c matters over the holiday period, including the practice of riding on the back of trucks. 18011412 Police kept a close eye on all manner of traffi c matters over the holiday period, including the practice of riding on the back of trucks. 18011412

The Cook Islands Police Service has severely criticised driver behaviour on Rarotonga after taking an extra hard line on road safety over the festive period.

 

Before Christmas, police boosted the frequency of road checkpoints and launched a campaign against drink-driving.

But police media consultant Trevor Pitt says some of the statistics from the two weeks from December 22, 2017 to January 5 this year are so alarming that police described it as “staggering.” 

In a Facebook post, Pitt said police officers had responded to 65 incidents in 14 days.

“That’s more than four a day, every day. And still, the public often demands miracles from a heavily-constrained service.

“Driving behaviour has been the priority for police, given the high level of road incidents recently, including fatalities.

“The Tahitian victim of a recent motorcycle crash at Matavera sustained a spinal injury and was evacuated by air to Tahiti. And a tragic fatality on January 7 came on the tail end of the festive period. The road environment clearly requires more than the enforcement powers of the police.”

Despite the messages, warnings, and traffic checks, 48 drivers had been forbidden from using their vehicles because they had been drinking alcohol, Pitt said.

“There were 12 motor vehicle crashes recorded in this short period, including three considered serious, with drivers being arrested and charged for excess breath and blood alcohol.”

Pitt said police had used speed radar, breath and blood alcohol tests and vehicle documentation checks in their efforts to keep the roads safe. Other measures had included visits to hot-spots around the island and targeting vulnerable, high-risk traffic areas, all of which had taken considerable effort and time.

Over the two-week period 202 traffic fines had been issued to drivers, Pitt added.

“Nearly 30 of these were for helmet infringements and about the same number for speeding.

“Police are taking a hard look at these figures for enforcement purposes, but a bigger change in attitude must come from the people who use the road.”

            - Release/CS

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