Keep safe on the roads

Taupo & Turangi Weekender - - News -

Last year, 21 peo­ple lost their lives on roads in the Taupo¯ and South Waikato polic­ing area. So far, the Taupo¯ /South Waikato stands at 15 deaths from 13 crashes.

Na­tion­ally, 355 peo­ple lost their lives on New Zealand roads from Jan­uary 1 to mid-De­cem­ber.

This hol­i­day sea­son, the mes­sage from NZ Po­lice and the NZ Trans­port Agency to road users is sim­ple — re­main fo­cused and drive as if your life and the lives of those around you de­pend on it.

Be cour­te­ous, be cau­tious, and look out for one an­other.

Se­nior Sergeant Fane Troy, road polic­ing man­ager for the Taupo¯ area, says there will be a large road polic­ing pres­ence on roads around the Taupo¯ dis­trict over the sum­mer hol­i­day pe­riod. Most of the dis­trict’s fa­tal ac­ci­dents hap­pen on the state high­ways where a sim­ple er­ror can prove deadly.

“When peo­ple make a mis­take, the only thing sep­a­rat­ing them is a small white cen­tre line,” he says.

“They need to be vig­i­lant while driv­ing on our high­ways be­cause there is no room for for­give­ness.”

Some years ago the NZTA ran a road safety cam­paign called Left of Left is Best and Mr Troy says that mes­sage of stay­ing left and away from the cen­tre line still ap­plies.

“Hug your wha¯ nau, not the cen­tre line.”

The road safety ad­vice fol­lows a hor­ror year on the roads so far, with the road toll by midDe­cem­ber al­ready ex­ceed­ing 2017, and 84 more peo­ple than in 2014.

“There have al­ready been too many peo­ple die on the roads this year and we want you all to en­joy the New Zealand sum­mer with your loved ones,” says San­dra Ven­ables, as­sis­tant com­mis­sioner for road polic­ing.

“De­ci­sions you make as a driver im­pact not only on you, but all other road users.

“You have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to drive safely on be­half of ev­ery­one you are shar­ing the road with.

“Pas­sen­gers also need to make good de­ci­sions about whose hands they are putting their life in. If you have any doubts then speak up, find an al­ter­na­tive driver, or an­other op­tion to get to where you need to be. Des­ig­nate a sober driver, make sure ev­ery­one in the car puts a seat­belt on, and let the driver fo­cus on driv­ing.

“Our staff will be tar­get­ing the four main be­hav­iours we know con­trib­ute to death and se­ri­ous in­jury on the road — not wear­ing your seat­belt, driv­ing im­paired (by fa­tigue, drugs, or al­co­hol); driv­ing dis­tracted (such as us­ing a cell­phone), and speed­ing.

“These be­hav­iours will again be the main fo­cus of our sum­mer road safety cam­paign.

Po­lice have launched so­cial me­dia videos to back up their on­road ac­tiv­ity by get­ting peo­ple to think about be­hav­iours that put lives in dan­ger on the road.

“If of­fi­cers wit­ness peo­ple un­der­tak­ing any of these risky be­hav­iours on our roads, or we are ad­vised of risky driver be­hav­iour, we will take ac­tion ei­ther at the time or by fol­low up en­quiries.

“We will con­tinue to have a strong op­er­a­tional fo­cus on road safety over the higher risk pe­ri­ods, which will in­volve all Po­lice staff, not just our road polic­ing teams.

“Our staff will be vis­i­ble and as­sist­ing you to get to your des­ti­na­tions safely by tar­get­ing un­safe be­hav­iours.”

NZ Trans­port Agency safety and en­vi­ron­ment di­rec­tor Harry Wil­son says the high num­ber of deaths and se­ri­ous in­juries on our roads af­fects fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties across New Zealand.

“As al­ways, po­lice will be work­ing in­cred­i­bly hard to keep New Zealan­ders safe this sum­mer but all of us need to play our part to en­sure we and our loved ones ar­rive safely. We know that fol­low­ing four sim­ple rules can be the dif­fer­ence be­tween a safe or tragic out­come on the road: al­ways wear a seat­belt, don’t drive while im­paired or dis­tracted and keep to the speed limit.

“At the end of the day, agen­cies can’t do this alone. We need ev­ery­one’s help to keep the roads safe, road safety is ev­ery­body’s re­spon­si­bil­ity.”

Se­nior Sergeant Fane Troy.

Photo / File

The road toll has been ris­ing for the past sev­eral years.

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