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Otahuhu Residents To Buckle Up

6 October, 2000

OTAHUHU RESIDENTS TO BUCKLE UP

Otahuhu residents are the focus of a campaign this month to encourage the use of car safety belts in the back seat.

Auckland City, ACC Injury Prevention and Counties-Manukau police are teaming up to show drivers and their passengers the importance of wearing safety belts in the back seat through a campaign with several facets: observations, education, promotion and enforcement.

The joint campaign comes hard on the heels of a survey carried out in Otahuhu last month. The results showed that only 26 per cent of back seat passengers in more than 1000 cars were wearing their safety belts.

“Auckland City has the lowest rates of safety belt wearing for rear seat passengers in New Zealand, a statistic that we and local communities cannot be proud of,” says Auckland City road safety co-ordinator Raewyn Fairley.

“Through this campaign, we’re asking people to ensure their families and friends are buckled in when travelling in their cars. The risk of serious or fatal injury is virtually the same for people sitting in the back seat as it is for front seat passengers.”

Observations are already underway on Otahuhu roads to spot passengers that are not wearing their safety belts. When this stage of the campaign is completed, police will send a letter of warning to those people, giving information about the safety belt laws and a reminder of the fines for breaking them.

As part of an education programme also starting this month, a safety belt display will be staged at the Otahuhu Market Day on October 12. Local police will operate a safety belt sled, which gives people the chance to experience the impact of an 18kph crash. Information leaflets, stickers and balloons, with the message ‘Always Wear Your Safety Belt’, will be given out at the event. The stickers are printed in four Pacific Island languages, Maori and English.

Police will toughen up enforcement in specific areas of Otahuhu from November and anyone caught not wearing a safety belt can expect to receive a $150 fine.

Safety belt campaigns run in Wesley, Owairaka and Mt Albert late last year were hugely successful, with police checkpoints showing continued improvement in the use of safety belts throughout the project’s different stages.

ENDS

For further information, please contact:
Raewyn Fairley, Auckland City road safety co-ordinator, tel: 373 6267.
Senior Sergeant Colin McPherson, Counties-Manukau police, tel: 259 0607.
David Pierce, ACC Injury Prevention, tel: 915 8378.

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