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Holiday Safety Campaign Targets Wellington

Holiday Safety Campaign Targets Wellington Region Road Users

30 November 2006

Wellington region road users can expect high police visibility and enforcement from a Christmas safety operation which starts tomorrow, 1 December and runs to 3 January 2007, the end of the official holiday period.

Police officers from throughout the Wellington District - which includes Wellington City, Porirua, the Kapiti Coast, Hutt Valley and the Wairarapa - are working together on Operation December Safe, paying special attention to the State Highways and main arterial routes.

Senior Sergeant Doug Rowan, Wellington District Road Policing Operations, says the 39-phase day and night operation is targeting speed, alcohol, failure to wear seat belts or restraints, and other dangerous driving behaviours that are linked with death and serious injury crashes.

Wellington District's Traffic Alcohol Group, supplemented by Strategic Traffic Units and General Duties police from the five policing Areas, are focusing on alcohol and drugged drivers, especially during the evening hours.

"Speeders, red light runners, stop sign offenders, dangerous overtakers, those who follow too closely and people not wearing seat belts can expect to be relentlessly targeted, day or night," Senior Sergeant Rowan says.

"Drivers stopped during the operation can expect to be breath tested and we're applying zero tolerance to restraint offending.

"We want people to arrive alive and get home in one piece."

Police urge people to make alternative transport arrangements if they plan to drink at Christmas functions, and encourage function organisers to be responsible hosts.

There will be more traffic on the main highways as people leave Wellington before Christmas, and return home early in the New Year.

Road users can help smooth traffic flows by:

• pulling over to let faster moving traffic pass• wearing seat belts• keeping within the speed limits• putting the brakes on risk taking behaviour• avoiding alcohol if you're planning to drive• taking regular stops to avoid fatigue• using Driver Reviver stops.

"Too many people have died or been injured on our roads this year," Senior Sergeant Rowan says. "We're heading into a traditionally busy period and we want people to be safe and stay safe, wherever they are on our region's roading network."

Police are seriously concerned that road fatalities have nearly doubled in the Wellington Police District over the last 12 months. So far this year 28 people have lost their lives in 24 fatal crashes compared with 17 deaths in the whole of last year. Police do not want any more trauma on our roads.

The victims this year were:

• ten drivers• nine pedestrians• six passengers• one motorcyclist• one cyclist • one skateboarder.

This compares with 17 deaths for the whole of 2005.

Seven fatal crashes have happened this year in Wellington City Area, six in Kapiti Mana, five in the Wairarapa, five in Lower Hutt (including four deaths in one crash) and one in Upper Hutt (two deaths).

"Fatalities are more than just statistics. They're people who are loved and missed by their friends and families.

"If you're in favour of lowering the road toll, then please - raise your right foot."

ENDS


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