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LTSA survey shows safety messages getting through

LTSA online
Road safety enforcement and advertising campaigns are continuing to change behaviour and chip away at long-held beliefs, according to the latest Land Transport Safety Authority public attitudes survey.

Changes since the introduction of targeted enforcement and advertising campaigns in 1995 include a higher perceived risk of being caught drink-driving, recognition of speed as a major road safety problem and higher reported use of safety belts.

The 2000 survey showed an increased recognition that drink-driving won't be tolerated on New Zealand roads. The percentage of people who thought it likely to be caught drink-driving from 10pm to midnight rose from 44 percent in 1995 to 53 percent last year, and from 31 percent to 41 percent in the midnight to 2am slot.

Three quarters of New Zealand adults now agree that compulsory breath testing helps to lower the road toll.

Fifty-one percent of those surveyed spontaneously mentioned speed as a major road safety problem, while 20 percent identified it as the main factor that makes our roads unsafe.

Last year's survey also showed that most people find very high speeds unacceptable – 85 percent supported automatic loss of licence for driving at 150km/h on the open road or 90km/h in a 50km/h zone. Two-thirds of those surveyed thought three speeding tickets in a year should result in loss of licence.

In spite of the widespread recognition of the dangers of speeding, 46 percent of males and 34 percent of females surveyed said they enjoyed driving fast on the open road.
"Unfortunately the speeding culture is still strong in New Zealand. If we want to make real headway in bringing down the road toll this attitude has to change," said Director of Land Transport Safety David Wright.

"Drivers should be aware that police have upped the ante with 180 Highway Patrol cars hitting the road this year. The clear messages are: break the speed limit and you're likely to get caught, keep your speed down and you improve your chances of surviving a crash."

The survey also found an increase in reported safety belt use over previous years. Only seven percent of those surveyed said they often or always drove without a safety belt on short trips, down from 10 percent in 1998 and 17 percent in 1995. Only two percent said they seldom wore a safety belt on the open road, down from 10 percent in 1995.

Another of the survey's findings was broad support for the LTSA's road safety advertising – 51 percent want it maintained at current levels while 40 percent think the amount of advertising should be increased.

The 2000 survey of public attitudes to road safety is the latest in a series that began in 1974 and have been conducted annually since 1994. The surveys evaluate New Zealanders' attitudes to road safety issues, primarily drink-driving and speed.

Face-to-face interviews with respondents aged 15 and over are conducted in towns, cities and rural areas throughout the country in May and June of each year. In 2000, interviews were conducted with 1,645 people, 1,438 of whom held drivers' licences.

Full details of the survey can be found on the LTSA website: www.ltsa.govt.nz

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