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Letters: ‘We have become a nation of drunk drivers’

Wednesday 6 September 2023 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion

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Letters: ‘We have become a nation of drunk drivers’

The latest drink drive crashes and arrests prompts this letter. Some weeks back your Court reporter told us not only the name of the driver before the criminal division of the Court but also that the accused had been drinking at home before going for a top-up at Luna Bar.

Now, this reader has been watching Cook Islands News carefully for any related story, perhaps a report the Luna Bar's liquor licence had come up for scrutiny by our Police for, apparently, serving a customer already intoxicated.

But then, this reader can't recall any bar ever being taken to task in the last 40 years or so.

Details supplied

Police spokesman Trevor Pitt responds

Police are in agreement over the need for greater accountability for drunk driving.  But these incidents are not always clear cut.  You can't be prosecuted for drinking in a bar.  There are legal thresholds that have to be met.  In terms of the Liquor Licensing Authority, there needs to be determined a clear breach of the conditions, which include selling alcohol to an intoxicated person.  Of these conditions placed on bar managers, Police constantly ask for cooperation and assistance with meeting the requirements.  

That includes clearing the premises within the required time, upon closing.  Should there be an incident, like a crash, Police investigations must result in clear evidence for the Court.  As we all know, we have a lot of uncooperative drivers out there who will do everything they can to get off.  The evidence must be telling.  And in many cases, prosecution by the Court is ineffectual.  The penalties, the Court delays, even the warnings stemming from fatalities, are not improving our driving culture of irresponsibility.  We have become a nation of drunk drivers.  And yet more and more liquor licences seem to be sought, in the name of economics.