Lives could be saved from drink-driving crashes if
police stopped threatening $10,000 fines and supported
unlicensed passenger services, the creators of a Dunedin
social media campaign say.
Cody Jeffery (22) and Rebecca Gibb (24) have gained 900
supporters since launching a Facebook page, Dunedin Sober
Drivers Save Lives, on Tuesday night.
''We are just trying to stop the deaths from people
drink-driving - we've had enough of it,'' Mr Jeffery said.
The campaign follows the deaths of Mosgiel siblings Danielle
Ngametua Kiriau (17) and Shannon James Kiriau (22) in a car
crash on the Southern Motorway in Dunedin early on Sunday.
In December, Dunedin police warned about 60 drivers who were
offering passenger services organised on Facebook.
Passengers paid fees or bought petrol in return for a ride.
Mr Jeffery said yesterday the group wanted more, cheaper,
options for people to get home.
He believed the law about passenger services was unclear.
''If someone picks up a hitchhiker from the side of the road
and the hitchhiker flicked them $10 or $20 - or what they can
afford for fuel - is the driver eligible for a $10,000
The group was not trying to to take income away from taxi
companies, he said.
But Dunedin police said they would never support a criminal
activity and drivers and passengers using an unlicensed
service faced hefty fines.
Dunedin road policing manager Senior Sergeant Phil McDouall
said a driver must hold a passenger service licence to
legally carry passengers, on any road, for hire or reward.
For a first offence, a driver and passengers could be fined
up to $10,000 and for a second, or subsequent, offence, up to
The vehicle could be impounded.
''We want to discourage this - there are perfectly good taxis
Snr Sgt McDouall said police supported people who put money
aside and arranged a safe way home before heading into town
''We do not support the drunks who go out there and solicit a
ride from a complete stranger to get them home, because they
are both committing a criminal offence.''
New Zealand Taxi Federation spokesman Roger Heale said
although it was legal for a sober driver to collect petrol
money from friends, it was illegal for a driver to hire
themselves out as an occupation.
''It's one thing to take your mates down to the pub, not
drinking and them buying you Coke all night and paying for
''It's completely another, you getting in your car on Friday
and Saturday and actively seeking carriage, or to take people
for a donation, or a fee.''
Paying a taxi fare was much cheaper than paying a police
fine, he said.
''And you don't have the risk, you're fully insured, and
you've got a compliant driver, company and car. Why would you
run the risk?''
Last night, two of those injured in Sunday's crash remained
in Dunedin Hospital. Back-seat passenger Courtney Donald (17)
was still in a serious condition and driver Cameron Presland
(20) remained under assessment.