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Why ACC supported Police road safety campaign this summer

ACC’s Head of Insurance Products and Injury Prevention, David Simpson, says the disproportionate carnage wreaked by road injuries was a key reason ACC supported the just-ended Police ‘safer summer’ campaign, which was based on a reduced speed threshold.

“Around two thousand, or 40 per cent, of the most seriously injured people currently supported by ACC were injured in on-road vehicle crashes, despite the fact that road-related claims accounted for less than two per cent of all claims received last year.

“These are people whose lives were turned upside down in an instant. All have injuries, such as serious spinal or traumatic brain injuries, which will affect them for the rest of their lives.”

Sixty-five claims were received from people with injuries in the most serious category in 2013. In addition, 254 people were killed on the road last year.

One positive, says Mr Simpson, is that serious injuries resulting from road crashes have been trending downwards in recent years.

“There’s likely to be a multitude of reasons behind this. Safer cars are having an impact, and driver attitudes to things like drink driving are changing.

“The state of the economy can also have an effect. During a downturn, you tend to see fewer kilometres travelled for work purposes, and people cut back on heading away in their cars for holidays.”

Despite the downward trend, Mr Simpson says “Any fatality or serious injury is one too many. And there’s irrefutable evidence that the faster you’re going when you crash, the more severe your injuries are likely to be, which is why ACC supported this campaign.”

Mr Simpson says it was pleasing to see how positively Kiwis responded to the summer campaign.

“This signals to me that Kiwis’ attitudes are changing, and there’s less tolerance for those who risk mayhem by speeding, just as there’s lower tolerance these days for drinking and driving.”

ACC works collaboratively with other agencies to implement ‘Safer Journeys’, the Government’s road safety strategy.

Other road safety initiatives ACC is involved with include ‘Ride Forever’ – an information campaign aimed at helping motorcyclists become safer riders, and PRACTICE, a programme developed in collaboration with NZTA, aimed at improving the quality of training for learner drivers.

Key statistics

• Total ACC claims for on-road vehicle crashes 2012/13 financial year – 31,762
• Total cost of on-road claims 2013/14 – approx $340 million
• Potential lifetime cost of a serious injury for a person injured as a young adult - $27 million
• Road-related injuries accounted for less than 2% of the roughly 1.7 million claims received in 2012/13, but around 13% ($340 million) of the total claims costs paid out by ACC of approx $2.6 billion

Total new road-related serious injury claims 2009 - 2013
The figures below denote claims managed by ACC’s National Serious Injury Service, which supports clients with lifelong impairments resulting from spinal cord injuries (paraplegia and tetraplegia); moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries; as well as multiple amputations, severe burns and blindness:

• 2009 -110
• 2010 - 93
• 2011 - 92
• 2012 - 81
• 2013 - 65


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