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Ideas sought to reduce the road toll

Ideas sought to reduce the road toll

The public and all those with an interest in road safety in the Canterbury and West Coast regions are being encouraged to put forward ideas which they believe will reduce the road toll.

They will get a chance to do this at a special workshop that is being held on Friday, July 28 at the Christchurch Netball Centre in Hagley Park starting at 11 am and running through until 3pm.

The workshop, which has been put together under the leadership of the government’s National Road Safety Committee, is one of a series being held nationwide during July and August to gather ideas on the best ways to reduce the number of fatal and injury crashes on the nation’s roads.

There has been a steady downward trend in the road toll since 1990 despite an increase of around 40 percent in the number of vehicles. If the fatal crash rate had remained at the same level as it was in 1990 more than 900 people would have been killed on the road in each year. This number has been cut by almost two thirds. It is still one person killed every day and for each person killed, eight are seriously injured and many never recover fully.

The government has stated that it wants the annual road toll to be reduced to no more than 300 deaths and 4,500 hospitalisations by the year 2010 and is looking to the workshops to provide some answers to achieve this goal.

The National Road Safety Committee comprises the Secretary for Transport, the Commissioner of Police and the chief executives of Land Transport New Zealand, the Accident Compensation Corporation and Local Government New Zealand. It is particularly keen to see young people at the workshop because as a group they are disproportionately represented in road trauma statistics.

A spokesperson for the Secretary for Transport, Peter Burke, said road crashes were the greatest cause of death for people up to the age of 15 and from the age of 15 to 45 years, road crashes were the greatest cause of disability. He said just about every week there were reports in the media of crashes involving young people

Mr Burke said the aim of the workshops was to improve the communication between citizens and the people who formulate policy proposals to try and involve everyone in building a strong safety culture. They were also aimed at developing road safety interventions, which had broad community support.

To help stimulate discussion at the workshops a booklet with background information about road safety issues and initiatives being undertaken in New Zealand and overseas has been produced. As well, a DVD which celebrates the achievements of road users in bringing the toll down so far, will also be shown.

Details of the workshop in Christchurch and others around the country are available on the web site safeas.govt.nz


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