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New ad a lesson in the physics of speed


New ad a lesson in the physics of speed


New Zealand's latest road safety ad offers drivers a simple but compelling lesson on why a small increase in speed makes a big difference in crash severity.

"The new advertisement puts the spotlight on physics, speed and braking distances to provide drivers with a clear and compelling message, “ Land Transport Safety Authority General Manager Communications and Education Liz Taylor-Read said.

The ad features Dr Ian Johnston of Australia’s Monash University Accident Research Centre explaining how an increase of just 5km/h in travel speed can result in an impact speed several times greater in a crash.

The ad shows two identical vehicles travelling side by side, one at 60km/h and the other at 65km/h. A truck pulls onto the road 45m away, and both drivers hit the brakes at the same time. The ad then illustrates how the laws of physics dictate that the car travelling at 65km/h before braking will hit the truck still doing 32km/h, while the car travelling at 60km/h will hit the truck at just 5km/h - a difference in impact speed of 27km/h.

“The ad aims to show the link between the speed you travel and the severity of the crash when your vehicle hits something.

“For most of us the physics of speed does not even enter into our heads when we are driving – but the fact is that crashes at higher speeds subject the body to physical forces that result in serious injuries,” Ms Taylor-Read said.

Physics of speed two of two

“It’s a fact that travelling over the speed limit increases your risk of being injured on the road. You can’t argue with physics, and we hope people will take notice of this and question the role of speeding on our roads,” Ms Taylor-Read said.

”Speed is the single biggest factor in fatal crashes. Provisional figures for 2003 show that excessive speed contributed to 33% of fatal crashes.”

The new ad went to air on Sunday, April 4. It is part of the Land Transport Safety Authority’s new advertising approach that targets all New Zealanders. Previous ads were aimed primarily at offenders.

“The new approach to road safety advertising is aimed at increasing demand from society for a change in behaviour from dangerous drivers who put the rest of us at risk,” Ms Taylor-Read said.

The advertising approach has a new manner and style focusing on facts, figures and physics, illustrating the impact of speeding and other dangerous behaviour on victims, families and communities.

This new ad follows a road safety advertisement featuring Rotorua mother Jacqui Hesketh whose 23 year-old daughter Tanya was killed by a speeding driver.

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