Huge road toll must stop

South Waikato News - - Front Page - TAMARA THORN

First re­spon­ders are plead­ing with motorists not to be­come fa­tal­ity num­ber 21 in the South Waikato this Labour Week­end.

Twenty peo­ple have so far died this year in road ac­ci­dents from just north of Taupo through to Ti­rau.

Po­lice Se­nior Sergeant Ja­son Hen­der­son said the im­pact on a road vic­tim’s wider fam­ily and friends was ‘‘just dev­as­tat­ing’’.

He said peo­ple need to re­mem­ber the ba­sics; seat­belts, speed­ing and drink­ing and driv­ing.

Then there was the plain stupid.

Hen­der­son said there was an in­ci­dent over the week­end where a man on a mo­tor scooter was car­ry­ing a young child in the footwell. He blew nearly four times over the le­gal limit.

‘‘It is those sorts of things that re­sult in peo­ple dy­ing un­for­tu­nately.’’

He said peo­ple needed to plan their trip, give them­selves plenty of time and take plenty of rest to avoid fa­tigue be­cause rush­ing to get some­where on time gets peo­ple killed.

‘‘You just have to go with the flow of the traf­fic. Drive con­sid­er­ately.’’

Toko­roa Chief Fire­fighter Dave Mor­ris also has some ad­vice.

He said seat­belts and airbags were help­ing keep the road toll down and th­ese days roads were a lot bet­ter than a few years back, but peo­ple still make mis­takes.

‘‘The key is keep­ing aware and be­ing pa­tient. Keep to the road con­di­tions’’

Mor­ris said it was im­por­tant to stop and take a break ev­ery so of­ten.

An ac­ci­dent a few years back at Hatu­patu Rock claimed the lives of six peo­ple from one car, due to fa­tigue and peo­ple crammed into a hot car.

Cell phones were also a fac­tor in road deaths.

‘‘If you have blue­tooth or hands free use it, other­wise pull over,’’ Mor­ris said.

Mor­ris said Toko­roa had a ‘‘fan­tas­tic’’ emer­gency group and all agen­cies work well to­gether.

He said if you come across an in­ci­dent, give the best lo­ca­tion they can. Pass on a grid ref­er­ence if you have one or the lo­ca­tion of the near­est town.

Both Hen­der­son and Mor­ris said when driv­ing look in all of your mir­rors, and pull over for up­com­ing flash­ing lights and sirens.

‘‘drive to sur­vive.’’

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