Taranaki eyes southern stance

19:06, Dec 05 2012

Taranaki police say they support a hard line taken by their Canterbury counterparts.

Canterbury police have warned people that allowing a drunk, drugged or disqualified driver to drive their vehicle would result in serious charges.

They have taken the action after the friend of a teenager killed in a crash in Rangiora six months ago was charged in relation to the incident - even though he was a passenger in the car.

Taranaki rural area commander, Inspector Frank Grant, said it was possible similar measures could be adopted in Taranaki.

"We would explore that option depending on the circumstances," Mr Grant said.

He said if someone incited or encouraged drivers to drive dangerously or allowed them to drive drunk they could potentially face charges.

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"We would have to review each case based on its merits."

Senior Sergeant Allan Whaley, of New Plymouth, said he supported the action.

"Everybody has a role to play and a responsibility, to their relatives, friends and ultimately the community, to intervene when they become aware of a person who is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs," Mr Whaley said.

Road policing manager Inspector Al Stewart said a 22-year-old Christchurch man would appear in the Christchurch District Court on December 12 charged with aiding and abetting someone driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

Mr Stewart said the man allegedly knew the driver was drunk. "This is serious stuff," Mr Stewart said.

"If you knowingly allow a person who is incapable of having proper control of your vehicle to take it out on the roads and place all other road users in danger, you are as liable as the driver.

"Investigations into serious and fatal crashes (are) showing us that in a lot of cases the owner of vehicles - family members, friends, workmates or associates - are aware that a driver . . . was incapable, but failed to do anything to stop it, or worse, facilitated the driver into the vehicle. This is just unacceptable."

Vehicle owners convicted of allowing drunk, drugged or disqualified drivers to use their vehicle could face maximum penalties of a $4500 fine, three months imprisonment and six months disqualification from driving.

Taranaki Daily News