Action needed as fleeing driver numbers hit record high

Darroch Ball, Spokesperson for Law and Order

Drastic action needs to be taken as the final statistics for 2018 show a record number of fleeing driver incidents and lives lost.

Not only did last year see a record number of incidents, the final quarter of the year had both the largest number of incidents and the fastest rate of increase on record.

“It is clear that something is going drastically wrong, and if we don’t fix it this ridiculous rate of increase is just going to continue,” says New Zealand First Spokesperson for Law and Order Darroch Ball.

 

 

The official statistics for 2018 show:

  • 4100 fleeing driver incidents occurred - the highest number on record
  • 12 deaths - equal highest number since 2010
  • 617 crashes – double the number in 2010 
  • 458 people killed or suffered serious injuries in just 10 years
  • Police abandoning pursuits has doubled from 30% in 2009 to 60% in 2018.

“What is most telling is that the proportion of pursuits the Police have abandoned has closely mirrored the meteoric increase in the number of people who choose to flee. It has become clear that fleeing drivers believe that the more erratically they drive, the greater the chance that Police will abandon the pursuit.

The joint Police and the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) report released recently also shows that 80 percent of fleeing drivers have either been previously involved in family violence, are serious criminals, involved in gangs, or have previously fled police - with the average age of drivers being 26.

“This shows this is not something that is dominated by one off, first time, scared young teens – these are adult criminals knowing they can get away with it,” Mr Ball says.

“The report also stated that the current Police procedures of instigating and abandoning chases is not going to fundamentally change, so the law must act as more of a deterrent with harsher penalties for those who choose to flee.

“New Zealand First’s Land Transport (Fleeing Drivers) Amendment Bill proposes both new offences and much tougher penalties including mandatory community service, jail time and a manslaughter equivalent charge for those who flee and kill.

“It is essential the current laws change, and now is the time to act, before this epidemic spirals out of control,” Mr Ball says.

 

Darroch.Ball@parliament.govt.nz

 

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