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See You There... Safe As!

13 July 2006

See You There... Safe As! Good ideas sought to reduce the road toll

People interested in improving road safety in the Auckland region are being encouraged to put forward ideas that could help reduce the road toll at a special workshop held at the TelstraClear Pacific Centre, Manukau on Friday 21 July from 10am to 2pm.

The workshop, put together under the leadership of the government's National Road Safety Committee, is part of a nationwide series happening in July and August to gather ideas on the best ways to reduce the number of fatal and injury crashes on the nation's roads.

Since 1990 the road toll has seen a steady downward trend, despite an increase of around 40 percent in vehicle numbers. If the fatal crash rate had remained at its 1990 level, over 900 people would have been killed on the road annually. This number has been cut by almost two thirds. This 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 it wants the annual road toll to be reduced to no more than 300 deaths and 4,500 hospitalisations by the 2010 and is looking to the workshops to provide some answers to achieve this goal. The National Road Safety Committee, which comprises the Secretary for Transport, The Commissioner of Police and the Chief Executives of Land Transport New Zealand, the Accident Compensation Corporation, Transit New Zealand and Local Government New Zealand, 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, who convenes the National Road Safety Committee, Peter Burke, says road crashes are the greatest cause of death for people up to the age of 15 and from the age of 15 to 45 road crashes are the greatest cause of disability. He says just about every week there are reports in the media about crashes involving young people.

Mr Burke says the workshop aims to improve communication between citizens and those formulating policy proposals to ensure everyone is involved in building a strong safety culture and future road safety interventions will have broad community support.

Some of the key Auckland Region road safety issues up for discussion at the workshop include Speed, Alcohol, Young Drivers, Intersections and Vulnerable Road Users. A booklet with background information about these road safety issues and initiatives being undertaken in New Zealand and overseas has been produced to help stimulate discussion.

As well, a DVD which celebrates the achievements of New Zealand road network users in bringing the toll down so far will be shown. Details of the Auckland workshop and others around the country are available on www.safeas.govt.nz .

ENDS

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