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Drink-driving: Families must help each other

Tuesday February 04, 2020 Written by Published in Editorials
Police conducting forensic examination at a crash scene last year. 19121724 / 19121725 Police conducting forensic examination at a crash scene last year. 19121724 / 19121725

During a kaikai in Mitiaro at the weekend of the latest tragedy, the MC announced a special pure akapumaana (prayer of comfort) would be held for the families who had just lost two young boys involved in a fatal accident on Rarotonga.

I was shocked. Not more deaths …

We all bowed our heads in silent respect as the prayers were cited; and we all thought of the grieving parents.

Although the tragedy occurred on Rarotonga, it affects families and friends in the Pa Enua.

Every death of a young person resonates throughout our 15 islands. We all know someone who has lost a child, a loved one, from an accident on our roads.

Someone will know of the person through their parents, family, kids, workmates, church, sports – or through family ties.

It affects all of us, we are a small community and somewhere along our chain of life, we have a link or a connection to someone who has experienced the loss of life from a road tragedy.

Rarotonga has an alarming rate of lives lost on roads: 10, over the past 12 months. What can we do to tackle these tragedies on our roads?

I don’t have the answer. What I do know is that when I was growing up, entry into nightclubs was very strict. And there would be Police everywhere in town on the weekends.

You could not walk out of TJ’s night club and just start your motorbike and be on your way.

Police would be standing there, shaking their heads, and reminding you they knew who your parents were …

Back then the Police would have two trucks on the main road waiting. One would be headed towards Arorangi, the other towards Takitumu to drop off kids from the night clubs, to get them home safe and sound.

My friends and I used this great police community service several times.

One couldn’t really speed then either. Most of our second-hand bikes only drove at 30 or 35kmh!

Back then, everyone knew everyone.

There were fewer accidents, fewer and slower vehicles, and a much larger, close-knit population.

Rather than curfews, do we need more interaction with the community and the youth groups, with the schools, driving lessons, life instructions?

I asked a mother who lost a child in a motorbike accident what she thinks we as a community should do.

There is no simple answer, she sighed.

“Maybe it’s time for the village, the community to come together and discuss these issues about our kids.

“Also, times have changed, kids have more rights.

“If you see someone’s child drinking under age, not wearing a helmet, speeding, being out very late at night, please let their parents know, let’s all work together.”

Condolences to the families who have lost loved ones on our roads.