Preventable crashes continue to burden health system

Over the Easter holidays we had two motorcycle crash-related hospital admissions involving young people, one of whom was referred from Aitutaki. Both incidents were associated with alcohol.

Over the Easter holidays we had two motorcycle crash-related hospital admissions involving young people, one of whom was referred from Aitutaki. Both incidents were associated with alcohol.

“Road traffic crashes are avoidable and it is disappointing that drivers continue to risk their lives on our roads”, says Secretary of Health, Dr Josephine Herman. “The costs involved in managing road crash-related injuries places an unfair burden on our health system”. Alcohol and speed are major contributors to road traffic crashes in the Cook Islands. According to Police Commissioner Maara Tetava,”the choice to drive while under the influence of alcohol reflects a lack of insight by drivers who underestimate the danger they pose to themselves and to other road users. Attitudes must change, for our roads to be safer’.  

The National Road Safety Steering Committee met last month, and are reviewing progress towards achieving the outcomes sought by the Cook Islands Road Safety Strategy 2016-2020. This Strategy was developed following the inaugural Cook Islands Road Safety Summit in 2015. This Summit was a response to increasing numbers of road crash-related deaths among youth, and brought together a range of road safety stakeholders including Aronga Mana, Religious Advisory Council, Government agencies, youth, the Cook Islands Disability Council and Cook Islands Road Safety Council. Dr Herman is Chair for the Road Safety Steering Committee. “Our vision is for a safer Cook Islands road system, increasingly free of death, serious injury and disability and our goal is for zero road incident/crash-related deaths. We cannot do this without the support of our youth, parents, families and community. Everyone will benefit”.