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Traffic infringements keep cops busy

Wednesday 8 February 2023 | Written by CI News Staff | Published in Court, Crime, National


Traffic infringements keep cops busy
A police officer conducting patrol and traffic enforcement check. POLICE MEDIA/FILE/22041804

More than 50 minor offence notices have been issued to Cook Islands road users in the five weeks since the New Year. Joanne Holden reports.

Traffic infringements accounted for 50 per cent of the 74 minor offence notices issued by the Cook Islands Police Service in January, while the total number of infringements accrued in February was “probably already in the vicinity of 30 or more”, according to statistics released by Police spokesman Trevor Pitt.

More than 20 of February’s fines were handed out last Friday, prompting Police to post a reminder to social media followers: “Some helpful advice to motorcyclists, especially the younger ones: you are subject to be fined by Police if your motorbike does not have at least one rear vision mirror.”

Pitt said missing mirrors accounted for 24 per cent of January’s minor offence notices, and those aged 21 to 30 represented “the larger share” of all infringements.

The penalty for not having a mirror is $20, and must be paid within seven days or else the matter advances to court.

“You must have a rear mirror,” Pitt said.

“The younger age groupings tend to be targeted for awareness messaging as these have also accounted for crashes or fatalities in the past.”

While a complete statistical breakdown of the types of minor offence notices issued and the ages of those who received them was not available at this time, Pitt said Police Prosecution collated this data and he had previously used it to release a breakdown of September 2022.

During that month, 37 per cent of the notices were handed out to 16 to 20-year-olds – the largest group of offenders.

Documentation failures, where the vehicle had no warrant or registration, were the largest category of offences at 52 per cent. Vehicle defects – which included no mirrors, no muffler, no number plate, or no lights – followed closely in second, making up 48 per cent of offences.

“Some drivers may receive multiple fines for multiple offences,” Pitt said.

Pitt said “something the public may not know or appreciate” was Police activity around issuing minor offence notices was sustained by the department’s finances or budget, but the revenue derived from the fines was returned to the main Government account (Receipts on Behalf of the Crown).

“Much like the driver’s licences,” Pitt said.

Police shared to social media in November that revenue from minor offence notices had earned the Government nearly $19,000 for the first quarter of the 2022/23 financial year.

According to the post, Police issued more than $68,000 worth of notices in the first 10 months of the year – though more than $23,000 was still outstanding as unpaid fines at that time.

  • Joanne Holden