Be a sober driver – and get a reward

Friday December 27, 2019 Written by Published in Crime
Police have been setting up increased checkpoints around the island for a week now, as part of their annual campaign to keep our roads safe during the festive season. 19122427-28 Police have been setting up increased checkpoints around the island for a week now, as part of their annual campaign to keep our roads safe during the festive season. 19122427-28

Members of youth awareness group the Cook Islands National Youth Council are pushing for a new initiative in Rarotonga aimed at encouraging people not to drink and drive.

The plan is to reward sober drivers.

Inspired by a campaign conducted by Counties Manukau Police in Auckland, New Zealand, where unsuspecting sober drivers who passed the routine drink-driving operation were rewarded with gift vouchers, CINYC support person Moana Manuela says the initiative shared a powerful message.

“It’s also good to highlight that it’s okay to be sober and if you’re going to have a few, to allocate somebody or have that as a plan before the night starts.”

It’s also received support from the Cook Island’s youngest MP, Te-Hani Brown. But it may not be as straightforward to implement.

In a statement to CI News, a spokesperson for the Police Commissioner Maara Te Tava said: The Police Commissioner is always receptive to ideas but at the end of the day, he has to consider how enforcement is consistent with the current Prevention Operations Model and the risks of compromising police work.”

The council took matters into their own hands by offering a dial-a-ride service over the Christmas and New Year breaks for those planning on a night out. But they don’t plan on carrying out the service for very long as they hope their message resonates with families.

“There is some work to be done because drinking is a culture that is going to be hard to change, especially with young people drink driving” says Manuela.  

The initiative is in response to recent drink-driving incidences on the island. They are now looking to local businesses to jump on board.

Party-goers can contact their dial-a-ride service on 54557.

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