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Think Before You Drive Launched

Media Release: 24 March 2006

Think Before You Drive Launched With 100,000 Free Tyre Pressure Gauges

The AA has today launched its latest campaign to improve safety on New Zealand roads - Think Before You Drive.

“Think Before You Drive promotes simple road safety messages. It highlights actions that only take a few seconds but could save your life,” says the AA’s General Manager for Motoring Policy Mike Noon.

“We want motorists to think about two things before they enter a car – namely to think about their seat belts and think about their tyres.”

“Seat belts save lives and are the single most effective, and least costly, road safety measure for car occupants. 23% of our road fatalities last year were as a result of people not wearing seat belts. It is such a tragic and unnecessary waste of life,” says Mr Noon.

“Tyres are often one of the safety elements most ignored by motorists. Many people seem unaware of the fact that a tyre loses pressure naturally over time, like a balloon, and that driving on incorrect pressure is both dangerous and expensive. On a wet road the difference in stopping distance for new and worn tyres can be about one car’s length – potentially the difference between braking safely and having a crash.”

“To help promote the Think Before You Drive message, the AA will give away 100,000 tyre pressure gauges and 250,000 Think Before You Drive road safety information booklets. The gauges and booklets will be given free of charge to motorists who have a Warrant of Fitness check at an AA Vehicle Testing Station. Additional gauges and booklets will be distributed by Bridgestone New Zealand Ltd and ACC will also distribute additional booklets,” says Mr Noon.

Think Before You Drive is a global road safety campaign funded by the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) Foundation, Bridgestone Corporation and motoring clubs worldwide. The campaign will be promoted in more than 40 countries during 2006. The campaign has been endorsed by former Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher, who praised the important information Think Before You Drive transmitted to people, and numerous other racing drivers.

The New Zealand Automobile Association’s Think Before You Drive campaign was officially launched at the AA’s Annual Conference in Invercargill by the Minister for Transport Safety, Hon Harry Duynhoven. The Managing Director of Bridgestone New Zealand Ltd, Mr Kenji Kano, also attended the launch.



Worldwide toll of road crashes
- 1.2 million people worldwide are estimated to be killed each year on the roads – more than 3000 people every day;

- 50 million people worldwide are estimated to be injured in road crashes each year;

- The estimated global financial cost of road traffic injuries is US$518 billion each year;

- The estimated cost to low and middle income countries is US$65 billion, more than all incoming development aid;

- For men aged 15-44 road traffic injuries rank second (behind HIV/AIDS) as the leading cause of premature death and ill health worldwide;

- Low and middle income countries account for more than 80% of global deaths from road traffic crashes and fatality rates are rising. By contrast, the general picture in industrialised countries is of three decades of falling road deaths.

New Zealand toll of road crashes
- 405 people have been killed on New Zealand roads in 2005;

- 4,684 people have been killed on New Zealand roads in the 10 years from 1996 to 2005;

- 7,030 people were hospitalised as a result of New Zealand road crashes in the year ending September 2005;

- 134,962 people have been injured in New Zealand road crashes in the 10 years from 1995 to 2004;

- The social cost of New Zealand road crashes is $3.6 billion each year.

Seat belts

- Seat belts save lives. Seat belts are the single most effective, and least costly, road safety measure for car occupants. Using a seat belt can improve your chance of surviving a potentially fatal crash by between 40 - 60 per cent;

- Seat belts are conservatively estimated to have saved more than 300,000 lives and prevented more than 9 million injuries in highly motorised countries over the past 25 years;

- Over the past three years in New Zealand at least 263 people have been killed and 1190 injured in motor accidents because they were not wearing a seat belt;

- On average, 94% of New Zealand’s front seat adult drivers or passengers use a seat belt (2004 figures). The best compliance was in Auckland and Nelson-Marlborough with 96%, the worst was in Hawkes Bay with 91%;

- On average, 86% of New Zealand’s rear seat passengers use a seat belt. The best compliance was in Nelson-Marlborough with 93%, the lowest was in Gisborne with 59%;

- On average, 87% of New Zealanders use child restraints when required. The best compliance was in Northland and Otago with 95%, the worst was in Auckland & Bay of Plenty with 81%.


Tyres are often one of the safety elements most ignored by the general public. In research conducted by Bridgestone in 2004 the company found that just two in five consumers check their tyre pressure each month and only a one in three check their tyre tread depth each month. One in five never check either;

- Tyre failures were responsible for 14 deaths on New Zealand roads in 2004;

- Many people underestimate the importance of tyres and remain unaware of the fact that at any one time there are only 4 postcard sized pieces of rubber in contact with the road;

- Tyre condition and pressure should be checked at least once a month in cold conditions;

- The minimum safe tread depth for tyres is 1.6 mm. Tread wear indicators appear at 1.6 mm depth and the tyre should be replaced;
Note: The New Zealand Road Code requires the tread of tyres to be must be 1.5mm or more deep right around the tyre and over 3/4 of the width of the tread pattern;

- On a wet road the difference in stopping distance for new and worn tyres can be about one cars length – potentially the difference between braking safely and having a crash;

- Tyre pressure in cars falls naturally between 10-20kPa (0.1 – 0.2 bar) a month. Low air pressure affects the steering and road holding performance of the car.

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