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Ten minutes won't kill you, but 10km/h could


For immediate release
18 October 2001

Ten minutes won't kill you this weekend, but 10km/h could

Drivers are being warned not to sacrifice a lifetime to save ten minutes in traveling time as the country prepares to hit the road for Labour weekend.

"Driving at 110 km/h instead of at 100 km/h will only cut ten minutes in travel time from a 200 kilometre trip - but it will increase your chances of having a fatal crash by 50 percent," said Director of Land Transport Safety David Wright.

"Five of the six fatal crashes last Labour weekend happened on the open road, and we know that speed was the main culprit in three of them. If we're going to avoid more deaths this year, people have got to slow down."

Crash figures show that 254 of the 347 road deaths so far this year have occurred on the open road, where excessive speed typically contributes to one quarter of all crashes.

Mr Wright said the wet weather predicted for much of the country this weekend made it even more important that motorists slow down and drive to the conditions.

"People have got to ask themselves if they're willing to put their life on the line or gamble with the lives of their family just to get to that holiday spot five or ten minutes earlier. Is it really worth it?

"After all, it's a long weekend, and most people will have more than 80 hours to enjoy it. An extra 10 minutes on the road won't kill you - but an extra 10 km/h could."

Drivers should also keep in mind that police now have more than 150 dedicated Highway Patrol cars on the road to enforce speed limits, Mr Wright said.

"That's 150 more than at this time last year. If you insist on speeding, there's a good chance you'll be caught and pay the price."

Mr Wright also urged slower drivers towing caravans and trailers to make sure they kept to the left side of the road and gave other traffic the opportunity to pass safely.

He also advised motorists to check that their tyres are in good condition and properly inflated, and reminded anyone traveling with children to buckle them up securely.

"This weekend comes straight after Kidsafe Week 2001, so the importance of using child restraints and booster seats should be fresh in everyone's mind. The law is clear: all children under the age of five must be properly restrained by an approved child restraint. Kids weighing 14 - 26 kg should be in booster seats, whatever their age.

"Children don't have a choice about traveling safely, but adults do. So if you're heading out on the roads this weekend, remember: strap yourself and the kids in properly, pump the tyres up and keep your speed down."

Editors please note:
The official holiday period for Labour weekend for 2001 will begin at 4pm Friday 19 October and ends at 6am Tuesday 23 October.

For more information, please contact:

Andy Knackstedt

LTSA Media Manager

04 494-8751 or 025 763 222


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