Christmas brings extra hazards to your family’s safety
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.’’