Plea to driv­ers to take care on roads

Coastal News - - Front Page -

Waikato’s multi-agency re­gional trans­port com­mit­tee has is­sued a plea to mo­torists to take ex­tra care on the roads with the Christ­mas hol­i­day pe­riod upon us.

The plea comes as the NZ Po­lice launch their We want you here for Christ­mas na­tional road polic­ing op­er­a­tion aligned with a joint Po­lice-nz Trans­port Agency so­cial me­dia cam­paign.

At the com­mit­tee’s fi­nal meet­ing for 2017, road polic­ing man­ager In­spec­tor Mar­cus Lynam said the aim for Waikato district po­lice was to pre­vent deaths and se­ri­ous in­juries by fo­cus­ing on four fac­tors — go­ing too fast for the con­di­tions, seat­belts, im­pair­ments and dis­trac­tions.

“The ma­jor­ity of fa­tal and in­jury crashes are nor­mal peo­ple mak­ing mis­takes,” Mr Lynam said.

“Last year hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tions in the Waikato rose by 45 per cent. We know that less speed means less harm,” he told the com­mit­tee.

“Im­paired driv­ing con­tin­ues to kill and se­ri­ously in­jure on our roads, with 24 per cent of all fa­tal crashes in­volv­ing driv­ers un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol.

“Of course, ev­ery year there are peo­ple who would have sur­vived a crash if they’d been wear­ing a seat­belt.

“We pre­vent crashes by en­forc­ing the laws that re­late to driv­ing be­hav­iours that kill and in­jure peo­ple. It’s not about is­su­ing more tick­ets. It’s about vis­i­bil­ity and work­ing with our part­ners to change driver be­hav­iour,” Mr Lynam said.

In the year to date 57 peo­ple have been killed and an es­ti­mated 270 have been se­ri­ously in­jured in the Waikato re­gion. The so­cial cost of re­ported road crashes in the re­gion for the 10 years to 2015 was about $500 mil­lion per year along with in­tan­gi­ble, fi­nan­cial, eco­nomic and com­mu­nity costs.

Waikato re­gional coun­cil­lor and com­mit­tee chair­man Hugh Ver­coe said, “While Waikato is buck­ing the na­tional road toll trend this year, this is not a time for com­pla­cency.

“We’ve had a num­ber of multi-fa­tal­ity crashes this year and our re­gion is grossly over­rep­re­sented for death and se­ri­ous in­jury crashes, with around 20 per cent of na­tional ca­su­al­ties for just 9 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion.

“We have chal­leng­ing roads, they’re not all the same and the speed limit isn’t al­ways right due to the con­di­tions. We know what we need to do — slow down, buckle up, don’t drink and drive — so we can all en­joy a great Christ­mas and New Year,” Mr Ver­coe said.

NZ Trans­port Agency safety and en­vi­ron­ment direc­tor Harry Wil­son said in a crash, speed is the sin­gle big­gest de­ter­mi­nant in whether any­one is killed, in­jured, or walks away un­harmed. A small change in speed makes a big dif­fer­ence to the se­ri­ous­ness of in­juries.

“We want ev­ery­body to ac­tively take re­spon­si­bil­ity on our roads.

“Po­lice will be out there on the roads in the ar­eas they know are of great­est risk. They are in­cred­i­bly pas­sion­ate about what they do, try­ing to keep all road users safe, but po­lice can’t be ev­ery­where, and we’re urg­ing ev­ery­one to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for safety and do their part. That means driv­ing to the con­di­tions, free from dis­trac­tions and im­pair­ment, and prop­erly re­strained,” Mr Wil­son said.

Be­tween 2015 and 2018 $3.2 bil­lion is be­ing in­vested in road safety na­tion­ally. That’s an in­crease in in­vest­ment of $550m com­pared to 2012-15.

The trans­port agency is com­mit­ted to im­prov­ing safety across all four parts of the safe sys­tem — roads and road­sides, speeds, road use and ve­hi­cles.

PLEA TO MO­TORISTS: Slow down, buckle up, don’t drink and drive.

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