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Rest is important for all drivers

Police and New Zealand Transport Agency staff in Queenstown were out over the weekend checking the safety of passenger vehicles transporting people to and from the local ski fields.

They were also checking taxis on Thursday night around the city.

“This is part of our focus to keep people safe on the roads,” says Senior Sergeant Mike McRandle.

“During this peak tourism season we run regular checks on passenger vehicles to ensure the drivers and vehicles are safe.

“It’s also a good opportunity to remind drivers that in winter we are facing really changeable conditions and it’s important all drivers are prepared, cautious, and drive to the conditions.”

Police stopped and checked 33 taxi drivers on Thursday night and three had to be put off the road due to potential fatigue and log book issues.

Senior Sergeant McRandle says this is a basic safety issue; if you’ve been driving for more than 13 hours, you need to stop and have 10 hours rest.

Impairment has a huge impact on your ability to drive safely.

“We want people to enjoy their time in our region and to be safe while they’re travelling in passenger vehicles.”

Police and Transport Agency staff also inspected tour operators and passenger vehicles going to and from the ski fields over the weekend.

There were 141 drivers stopped for vehicle inspections, as well as log book checks and other prevention checks.

Kelvin Lloyd, NZTA Manager Road Compliance Southern says this is another example of Police and Transport Agency staff working together in order to ensure all road users are as safe as possible.

“Although the majority of vehicles seen and drivers spoken to were complying with the relevant legislation, there were still some who were not, and we will be following up alongside Police in applicable cases.”

Senior Sergeant Mike McRandle says while the ski field operators were found to be performing really well, unfortunately we identified issues with 12 other operators.

The most common being log book related, which is what helps manage fatigue and rest breaks accurately.

“We know that lack of sleep and burning the candle at both ends can be a disaster waiting to happen when behind the wheel of a vehicle.

“Our officers have to attend terrible crash scenes where fatigue has led to death or serious injury.

That extra hour or two behind the wheel is just not worth it.

“We hope our regular monitoring and our active prevention work with operators will help the sector to ensure good fatigue management.

“We don’t want impaired drivers on the road making mistakes which could have been prevented.”

During the winter festival Police also carried out a number of checkpoints looking at restraints and distractions.

On Saturday morning at the Frankton roundabout three phone and three seatbelt infringements were detected.

Given the high traffic flow of the intersection this was a good result.


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