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Reports highlight needless damage to young lives


Reports highlight needless damage to young lives


Police say independent reports released today into a serious fleeing driver incident in which one young driver died and another in which four teenagers were badly injured shows the message still isn't getting through to some drivers.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority reports into the separate incidents in March this year, found that Police considered all relevant risk factors before commencing each pursuit, and fully complied with the law and the Police policy during both of them.

In the first incident in Auckland on 3 March, four young people were seriously injured after the 16-year-old driver of a stolen car ignored Police requests to stop and crashed into a concrete island. And, on 16 March in Taupo, suspended restricted driver Callan Moss, 20, died and one of his two passengers were seriously injured after fleeing Police and crashing into an oncoming vehicle. The Authority found that both crashes were caused by the actions of the two young drivers involved, with speed and alcohol significant factors.

Assistant Commissioner Allan Boreham said while Police welcomed the Authority's findings regarding Police actions, it was saddening and frustrating that both crashes could have been avoided.

"The sad fact in both of these crashes is that poor decisions by both young drivers have resulted in tragic and lifelong consequences that could so easily been avoided had they simply made the right decision and stopped for Police.

"Police feel for the families of those involved who are left to deal with the grief of losing a loved one and the other lifelong effects caused by serious injuries. All too often we see firsthand the effects that speed, alcohol and poor decision-making have on our roads, particularly among young drivers who think they are invincible, and this is something no family should have to go through.

"The message to all drivers is simple: if you're asked to stop by Police, then stop. Fleeing Police not only guarantees the likelihood of facing more serious charges – but also increases the risk of killing or maiming yourself, your passengers, Police or other innocent road users."

Mr Boreham said fleeing driver incidents were one of the most challenging situations that Police had to deal with, and officers always faced a difficult balance when people chose to risk their own and others’ lives at risk by fleeing Police. However, Police had no intention of handing the roads over to those who thought they were above the law.

He said Police accepted the Authority's conclusions and would continue to work to ensure that its fleeing driver policy was as safe as it could be, given that pursuits were always dangerous and highly unpredictable situations.

ENDS

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