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SUVA, Fiji Islands (October 11, 2000 - FM96/PINA Nius Online)---Fiji Land Transport Authority officials are getting legal advice on whether people should be fined if they are driving while "grog doped" from drinking too much yaqona (kava).

The authority's Media Manager, Ratu Eroni Volavola, says Land Transport traffic laws state that people could be fined up to F$ 2,000 (US$ 899) if they are incapable of driving or driving under the influence of an intoxicating liquor or drug.

Ratu Eroni says if yaqona is classified as a drug by lawyers then the authority will clamp down on both drivers and pedestrians.

"It’s not only for people that are driving. It’s also for people that have drank too much yaqona and are pedestrians. We feel that the law is for everybody, whether it be intoxication through alcohol or intoxication through yaqona or drugs or whatever.

"We feel that people drinking yaqona have been getting off with the law but we hope to come down had on them because if someone drinks grog and runs into a pedestrian, they face the same thing as people that are drinking alcohol."

Ratu Eroni says the authority is looking at ways of testing people who are grog doped when the new law comes into effect.

"We know the effects of yaqona. People can't walk; people can't talk properly. But in time to come there will be scientific methods to determine whether people are grog doped."

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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