Driving offenders shown results of crashes

'Today has been quite a big eye opener'

SUSAN STRONGMAN
Last updated 05:00 23/06/2014
Nikita Kolose
CHARLOTTE CURD/FAIRFAX NZ
BREAK FREE: Volunteer Nikita Kolose, 16, of Roadsafe Taranaki helps firemen, Ian Drewery, left and David Thomlinson demonstrate how the jaws of life are used to free crash victims from vehicles at a Department of Corrections-run day for offenders.

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A 60-strong group was given the chance to feel the effects of their actions on Saturday.

A day of activities aimed to help the group, most of whom had been involved in driving offences, to reduce the likelihood of re-offending.

The event was organised by the Department of Corrections in partnership with Roadsafe Taranaki.

Demonstrations included the fire service removing 16-year-old volunteer Nikita Kolose of Roadsafe Taranaki from a crashed car using the jaws of life, simulating crash scenes, learning basic first aid and showing how drivers can miss children in blind-spots.

The group also heard from Eagars Funeral Services director Casey Martin about the impact the actions of a driving offence could have on families.

One offender, who did not want to be named, had been convicted seven times for driving related offences and had spent time in prison as well as having done community work.

"Today has been quite a big eye opener, it's been awesome," he said.

"Some of the things we're doing are so in your face that I'm sure the guys will go away with different attitudes."

Community Probation services manager Annette Perrett said Saturday's activities were designed to show offenders the effects of their offences.

Combined with community work like ground maintenance and work for the Department of Conservation, the activities were part of an initiative to reduce reoffending 25 per cent by 2017.

Participants were able to talk with police about modifying vehicles and also had to navigate an obstacle course wearing goggles that simulated the effects of alcohol or drugs.

The offenders, from New Plymouth and Hawera, attended the day as part of their community-based sentence or under the Work and Living Skills programme.

All activities took place at the Pacific International Hotel Management School in Bell Block. Other organisations involved were St John, New Plymouth Injury Safe, Roadsafe Hawke's Bay, Horizons Regional Council, New Plymouth Girls' High School Students Against Dangerous Driving, and RockUp Adventure Activities.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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