Christ­mas brings ex­tra haz­ards to your fam­ily’s safety

Matamata Chronicle - - Feature -

En­sur­ing you, your ve­hi­cle, boat trailer or car­a­van are fit to be on the road and that those host­ing Christ­mas func­tions are aware of their host re­spon­si­bil­i­ties are the key mes­sages from Waikato po­lice to mo­torists this sum­mer.

District road polic­ing man­ager Leo Tooman said on the eve of the hol­i­day sea­son that 50 peo­ple had died on Waikato roads this year com­pared to 48 for the same pe­riod last year.

‘‘Each of these deaths rep­re­sents a tragedy that has fallen on a fam­ily who will be with­out a loved one this Christ­mas and it is times such as these the sense of loss re­ally hits home,’’ he said.

‘‘It then be­comes the fo­cus of not just po­lice but all emer­gency ser­vices to try and en­sure we don’t add to this toll and that every­thing that can be done is done to en­sure fur­ther loss doesn’t hap­pen.’’

Mr Tooman said the most ef­fec­tive meth­ods were of­ten the sim­plest and he urged mo­torists to take ac­tion now and not leave things to the last minute.

‘‘Make sure your ve­hi­cle is fit to be on the road, get that ser­vice, brake and tyre checks or war­rant done this week not the week of Christ­mas when ev­ery­one else is try­ing to do the same thing.

‘‘Plan your trip, al­low for longer traf­fic de­lays and don’t work all day on the 23rd and plan to hit the road like ev­ery­one else on the 24th.

‘‘Make sure you’ve got plenty of water and things to keep the kids oc­cu­pied in the car in case there are de­lays. Last sum­mer on De­cem­ber 28 there were 38 road crashes in the East­ern Waikato alone dur­ing one day’s rain, make sure you’re driv­ing to the con­di­tions.’’

Po­lice would once again be en­forc­ing the zero tol­er­ance to 5km over the sign­posted speed lim­its over hol­i­day week­ends and Mr Tooman re­minded the pub­lic 100kmh was a speed limit not a tar­get.

‘‘The other area of con­cern we have is in terms of drink driv­ing and the tra­di­tional Christ­mas work func­tions,’’ he said.

‘‘Too many peo­ple have al­ready died in al­co­hol-re­lated crashes in the Waikato this year and we would like to sug­gest to func­tion or­gan­is­ers it would be a hell of a way to spend Box­ing Day, at­tend­ing the funeral of some­one killed on the roads af­ter at­tend­ing a work func­tion.’’

Mr Tooman said it was far cheaper to sup­ply food than al­co­hol so em­ploy­ers should act re­spon­si­bly by en­sur­ing there was plenty to eat and there was a good se­lec­tion of low or non-al­co­holic bev­er­ages to choose from.

‘‘We don’t want to be the party-poop­ers but sug­gest you would be car­ing for your staff in a far bet­ter way by en­sur­ing they had a safe way to get home rather than ply­ing them with free drinks.

‘‘Imag­ine how hard it would be for a per­son start­ing a new job at your firm in the New Year know­ing they were re­plac­ing some­one lost over Christ­mas, do the right thing and take your host re­spon­si­bil­i­ties se­ri­ously that way we’ll all be here to see in 2012.’’

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