8 Sep 2011

Call to prosecute drink-drive onlookers 'ridiculous'

4:09 pm on 8 September 2011

The head of a programme for drunk drivers says a suggestion by a coroners to prosecute friends and family who fail stop repeat drink-drivers is ridiculous.

Rotorua Coroner Wallace Bain made the recommendation after an inquest on Whitney Morgan Robertson who was killed in a car crash involving a recidivist drink-driver.

But Roger Brooking from the Alcohol and Drug Assessment and Counselling Service says friends and family would be at risk of assault if they were legally required to stop drink-drivers.

Mr Brooking says only 5% of drink-drivers are ordered to be assessed and treated for alcoholism by the courts and penalties for repeat offenders should be much more strict.

Police support Dr Bain's recommendation.

Dr Bain also suggested setting up a register of repeat drink-drivers so they can be targeted more effectively.