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The Cost Of Poor Driving And Road Trauma

Driver education, road safety and road trauma specialists will gather in Wellington on 1 and 2 March for the AA Driver Education's 2001 national conference. Speakers and delegates will look at latest local and international driver training research and trends to develop safer driving behaviour.

Peter Sheppard, chief executive of the Automobile Association's Driver Education Foundation (AADEF) said that conference sessions would examine the role of education, training and behaviour modification to improve driving standards on New Zealand roads.

Now in its fourth year, this conference is seen as an ideal opportunity for all organisations involved in halting the death rate on our roads.

"New Zealand is not alone in facing up to the trauma and huge cost which eventuate from poor and unsafe driving practices," Peter Sheppard said. "Road trauma is an international problem that could eventually claim more lives than aids".

"The formal papers presented are as valuable as the informal exchange of ideas and information", he said.

Mr Sheppard said that 20 speakers will address the two-day conference, among them three keynote speakers:

David Silcock, from the United Kingdom, is an adviser to the Global Road Safety Partnership, led by the World Bank, and will look at issues surrounding the immense cost of road crashes. Currently nearly one million people are killed and 10 million are injured in vehicle crashes each year. Over 75 percent of these casualties occur in developing and transition countries, though they account for only 32 percent of motor vehicles. In 20 years, the impact of increased vehicle usage and consequent trauma in developing countries has the potential to exceed the death rate of aids.

Will Murray, a transport safety and risk reduction specialist from the University of Huddersfield in the United Kingdom, will canvass the need to continually assess already qualified drivers. Work-related crashes and the behavioural attitudes of company car drivers and commercial vehicle drivers from large and small fleet operations will be examined, along with the responsibilities and costs to their employers and society. The assumptions by private and commercial drivers as to their driving abilities will also be discussed.

Ken Smith, a Fellow of the Australian College of Road Safety, will look at Australia's road toll and the target set by government to reduce road deaths by 40 percent in the next ten years, saving 3,600 lives. Since 1970 the Australian government and road safety and motoring organisations have put massive effort into reducing drink driving, increasing seat belt wearing, improving vehicle safety and road construction and maintenance. Enforcement is a companion to these collective measures.

The AADEF was formed in 1996 by the Automobile Association with the specific aim of improving the standard of driving in New Zealand.

The Foundation draws from a wide range of expertise with board members including representatives from: Toyota New Zealand, BMW New Zealand, the Insurance Council; Manukau Urban Maori Authority; the Motoring Writers Guild; the Accident Compensation Corporation and the Automobile Association.

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