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MPs And Truckers Unite To Promote Road Safety

Sunday November 25, 2001

Almost 50 MPs representing every political party in the New Zealand Parliament will unite with trucking operators in their electorates on December 8 to promote road safety over the Christmas holiday period with a particular emphasis on sharing the roads safely with trucks.

The Truck Safety Awareness Drive has been coordinated by Road Transport Forum NZ (RTFNZ) to increase driver awareness of the need to share the roads with heavy vehicles.

Among other activities, each participating MP will take a ride in a truck with a local operator between 11am and 12 noon.

RTFNZ chief executive Tony Friedlander said that trucks have to keep working 24 hours a day throughout the Christmas period to carry the freight everyone needs to enjoy their holidays. “This means that private motorists heading away for their vacations will be sharing the roads with heavy vehicles.”

“Our campaign is designed to increase their awareness and offer them some tips to help them share the roads safely. We’ve produced an easy to read brochure for this purpose which we have placed in AA centres throughout the country and at Caltex Service Stations. Caltex has been a major sponsor of the event and has been affiliated with road safety for over six years.”

Mr Friedlander said that fatal crashes involving trucks fell to a 17-year low in 2000 and the industry was determined to see this trend continue. “While we are constantly developing and implementing ways to make roads safer, private motorists also have a major part to play.”

“With 70 percent of fatal crashes involving trucks being the fault of the other road user, it is important that the incidence of these crashes is heavily reduced. While most of our work is focused on reducing truck at fault crashes, this campaign is designed to create awareness among other road users.”

Mr Friedlander said truck drivers regularly saw a number of inexperienced and unpredictable motorists on the roads during holiday periods and they were determined to see this significantly reduced so that all road users could share the roads safely over Christmas.

“We thank the participating MPs for their help in promoting road safety.”

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