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Alarming rise in motor vehicle crashes

Wednesday 12 June 2024 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Crime, National


Alarming rise in motor vehicle crashes
The driver of a pickup truck that veered off the road at Matavera early Sunday morning is likely to face charges over the incident, which was reported to Police just before 1am. POLICE MEDIA/24061115

Cook Islands Police said an average of one motor vehicle crash per day was reported in May after recording 28.

Police media/strategic advisor Trevor Pitt said in April, there were 15 reported crash incidents.

Pitt said traffic offences also dominated the charges that were brought before the High Court.

He said eight people were ordered to pay for their blood alcohol tests, as well as over $16,000 in compensation to the innocent victims involved in crashes.

“The annual total so far this year is trending consistently with last year, which was a five year high,” Pitt said.

It was earlier reported that Rarotonga has seen a worrying trend in road fatalities in recent years.

In April, this year the country recorded its first road fatality. Last year, there were five deaths. Police had earlier said that the numbers were also high in previous years, with one in 2022, five in 2021, five in 2020, eight in 2019, and six in 2018.

In 2023, there were 239 motor vehicle crashes exceeding the 2022 record, and the Covid-19 years of 2021 and 2020. The highest annual figure of crashes on Rarotonga over recent years was 279 in 2018.

Meanwhile, in the weekend, three crashes were reported to police.

A 24-year-old driver is likely to be charged for a crash in Matavera on Sunday.

Pitt said that before 1am on Sunday they received a report about a pickup truck that had veered off the road at Matavera.

Police were told the 24-year-old driver picked up his phone to answer a call but crossed the opposing lane, crashing into trees and hedging.

Pitt emphasised that the crash highlights the persistent issue of carelessness on Rarotonga’s roads. Drunk driving and speeding are still major concerns, contributing significantly to motor vehicle crashes (MVCs).