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Road Works Targeted In New Safety Campaign

Road Works Targeted In New Safety Campaign

A row of orange cones marked the driveway to the Beehive today where a spotlight was put on the largely unrecognised problem of accidents and fatalities that regularly occur around roadworks.

The Minister for Transport Safety, the Hon Harry Duynhoven launched a major education campaign intended to change motorists' attitude to, and behaviour around, roadworks.

The Safety Around Roadworks campaign has been developed by Roading New Zealand and funded by the Road Safety Trust.

"Our research shows that many people are frustrated by roadworks and the delays they cause so they ignore speed restriction signs. They think the limitations are for drivers less competent than they believe themselves to be and that they'll be fine if they speed on through," says Roading New Zealand chief executive Chris Olsen.

“The fact is, many of them are not. Road workers are regularly distressed by accidents they witness – some of them fatal – which result from careless driving and speeding through roadworks.”

Because of the way accidents are recorded in New Zealand, there are no specific statistics which measure the extent of the problem, but reports from individual roading companies indicate it is serious.

For example, Murray Brown from Works Infrastructure and Roading NZ’s Campaign Manager reports that in its Northland Network alone there are about 20 to 40 crashes on work sites every year, 90 percent on unattended sites and often at night.

“Accidents on unattended work sites often involve alcohol, occur at all hours and there is not much traffic about, so people tend to speed. When there are any significant areas of loose surface more than 100 metres in length loss of control accidents are very common and even worse when there are curves involved,” Mr Olsen says.

The campaign comprises a multi media advertising campaign, public relations programme and education programmes on national and community levels.

“It’s gained the endorsement from ACC, Land transport NZ, Transit New Zealand, the AA, Police, Local Councils and many others. Clearly there’s a need for education in this area to change motorists’ behaviour and make roadworks safer for motorists and well as the people making the roads safer for everyone,” Mr Olsen says.

The campaign’s objectives are to ensure all New Zealanders understand the safety issues around roadworks; the seriousness of those issues and what they can do to drive and behave more safely.

“If we can achieve this, our roadworkers will be able to get on with the job and the number of motorists deaths and injuries we currently experience will be significantly reduced. I hope that everyone will get the message: Slow down around roadworks.”

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