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"Make it to Monday" this Queen's Birthday weekend

"Make it to Monday" this Queen's Birthday weekend – and beyond

29 May 2014

All motorists this Queen's Birthday weekend can take three simple steps to stay safer on the roads, and “Make it to Monday”, Police say.

During last Queen's Birthday Weekend, no-one died on the roads, a result road safety agencies are asking all road users to once again strive for.

“Police and its road safety partners are encouraging road users to make better decisions to keep themselves and others safe on the roads – whether it’s this long weekend or at any other time,” says Assistant Commissioner Road Policing Dave Cliff.

"Buckling your safety belt, driving at a safe speed and not drinking and driving are three of the most basic, life-saving choices that every motorist has the power to make this Queen's Birthday weekend. Making that right choice can be all the difference between life, death or permanent injury – whether for yourself, your mates, your family – or for someone else's," Mr Cliff says.

The "Make it to Monday" road safety campaign starts today as Police release a video on social media featuring primary school children using the hashtag #MakeItToMonday.

In the video, children come up with quirky road safety wisdom beyond their years as they appeal to parents, caregivers and other motorists to drive safely and help protect friends, and loved ones on the road.

This video is being supported by a public event in Wellington, with a display of 254 pairs of shoes to represent each life cut short on the roads in 2013.

“The steps to survive on our roads are so simple that our children can readily recall them, but often it’s the grown-ups who are forgetting," Mr Cliff says.

"The display of shoes reminds us that behind every statistic is a child, a best friend, a mate, a mum, or a loved one who has tragically lost their life. Already this year, crashes have claimed the lives of 125 people – 24 more than at the same time last year. In the vast majority of cases, alcohol, speed and not wearing safety belts were factors.

“While we often get focused on the statistics, behind every crash is a real person whose death or injury is preventable.

"If we keep going at the current rate, there will be at least another 180 empty pairs of shoes representing those lives that have been needlessly taken from us by the end of this year," Mr Cliff says.

ACC’s Chief Executive Scott Pickering says: “Fatalities are a tragic outcome of road crashes, and many people also get injured on the road, often seriously. Last Queen’s Birthday weekend, ACC received over 200 claims resulting from vehicle crashes, and throughout 2013 around 30,000 Kiwis were injured on the road. I urge everyone to drive safely and enjoy the extended break this weekend.”

Mr Cliff says while Police will be doing everything in their power this holiday weekend to enforce the law, save lives and reduce deaths and injuries, passengers, friends and family can also directly influence driver behaviour by supporting them to make the right choices.

"Even if you’re not driving, you can play your part – whether it's by not letting a mate drive drunk, by wearing your own safety belt, or speaking up in the car when you see speeding or other unsafe behaviour."

As part of the weekend's road policing activities, Police will be again strictly enforcing a reduced 4km/h speed threshold from 4pm on Friday 30 May until 6am on Tuesday 3 June, with a highly visible presence on the nation's roads.

Mr Cliff says every driver stopped can also be expected to be breath tested, with Police having little tolerance for anyone not wearing a safety belt, driving dangerously or in a way that puts other innocent road users at risk. Those towing or driving more slowly are also encouraged to pull over where safe to allow others to pass so traffic does not build up behind and cause additional frustration.

"Drivers need to be mindful that holiday weekend driving is often more risky than at other times, and adjust their driving accordingly," Mr Cliff says. "Typical hazards can include larger traffic volumes, people driving further on unfamiliar roads, and the potential for distraction with children and others in the car, while the winter weather can also make conditions more hazardous. We also suggest drivers resist temptation by putting their cellphone away.

"While safer roads and safer vehicles all help to make a difference, following basic road safety advice will help us all Make it to Monday.”

More information about road crash statistics for Queen's Birthday weekend can be found at: 2014 Queen’s Birthday weekend crash facts (PDF, 26KB).

ENDS

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