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AVARUA, Rarotonga, Cook Islands (August 9, 2002 - Cook Islands News/PINA Nius Online)---Speeding drivers in the Cook Islands beware.

The Cook Islands Police Department is awaiting the arrival of four new speed radars donated by the New Zealand Police.

The radars will be used for the first time in about eight weeks -- and Police Commissioner Pira Wichman says motorists who speed could be in for some nasty shocks.

He says traffic accidents caused by speeding are the police traffic section’s biggest headache. So far this year three drivers have been killed on Rarotonga’s roads.

"Introduction of the radars will hopefully reduce the number of accidents and bring speeds down," Wichman said yesterday.

"At present some drivers are ignoring the 40-60 kph (24-36 mph) limits and doing more than 80 or 100 kph (48 or 60 mph)."

A New Zealand police officer will bring the radar equipment to Rarotonga and will stay on the island to train local police.

The traffic section is also expecting to get breathalyzers to test drivers’ blood-alcohol levels this year, but their purchase has been deferred until legislation controlling their use has been introduced.

"There is no provision in the law to allow their use and legislation would have to be passed in a court of law," Wichman said.

"At the moment everything is in the pipeline -- but it will happen."

The introduction of speed radars and breathalyzers is part of a five-year strategic plan to provide each section of the police department with better equipment and training, Wichman said.

"This is just the beginning. There is more to come from the police force."

For additional reports from the Cook Islands News Online, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Cook Islands News Online.

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

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