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Man who let mate drive drunk is charged

13:41 Wed Dec 5 2012
AAP

Police hope the arrest of a man who let his drunk mate drive his car, ultimately to his death, will make other car owners think twice about doing the same.

A 22-year-old Christchurch man has been charged with aiding and abetting someone driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol following a crash which claimed the life of his friend Tarrin Kayne Alderson.

Alderson, 18, was under the influence of alcohol and not wearing a seatbelt when the car crashed and hit a power pole in Christchurch on May 25.

The 22-year-old arrested man, who was in the passenger seat and was wearing a seatbelt, was allegedly aware Mr Alderson was drunk.

Senior Sergeant Scott Richardson of Christchurch police says about six people have been charged with the offence this year, which is laid if someone knowingly allows another person to drive their car while drunk, drugged or disqualified.

He hopes the publicity will get people to think about acting safely.

"People will hopefully get to talking about it around the water cooler and over a beer at the pub tonight," he told NZ Newswire.

"If that means two people change their behaviour, that could be the one thing that stops a serious crash."

He says many car owners don't realise they have a legal duty to ensure others driving their car are licensed and that they aren't drunk or impaired.

"It's the same sort of obligation you have with a firearms licence," he told NZ Newswire.

"A car's really just a ton and a half of lethal metal, like a gun."

Automobile Association spokesman Simon Lambourne says the charges highlight drivers' obligations.

"Not only have they got a responsibility to ensure that they're not behind the wheel when under the influence of alcohol, but also that they don't get another person to drive them when that person is also under the influence."