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Drivers get road toll challenge for December

For immediate release December challenge one of two

3 December 2001

Drivers get road toll challenge for December

Police and the Land Transport Safety Authority are issuing a direct challenge to New Zealand drivers - make this December the safest one ever on our roads.

The last month of the year is traditionally the deadliest on New Zealand roads. Last December there were 52 road deaths, and the average December toll for the past five years is 51.

Director of Land Transport Safety David Wright said it was time that tradition came to an end once and for all.

"We must stop accepting the fact that December will be a time of tragedy on our roads. This should be a month full of joy and celebration, not grief and mourning.

"We haven't had a December road toll below 40 in New Zealand since before we started keeping monthly records in 1965, but there's absolutely no reason we can't do it for the first time this year. That's our challenge to the nation," Mr Wright said.

Police National Road Safety Manager Steve Fitzgerald said drivers could expect to see the highway patrol out in full force all around the country this month.
"By the end of December we'll have our full complement of 183 cars in action, and we'll be coming down hard on speeding, drink-driving and other unsafe behaviour. People may think we're spoiling their Christmas by handing out fines, but better that than really having your holiday ruined by a road crash."

Mr Wright said New Zealand was heading for a record low road toll this year. November's toll of 28 was the lowest since monthly recording began. This year's toll now stands at 398 compared to 413 at the same time last year. The yearly road toll for 2000 was 462.

"If drivers can meet the challenge we've set today of keeping December's toll below 40 we'll finish 2001 with a toll much lower than last year. I believe New Zealanders can rise to that challenge, just by sticking to the basics. Buckle up every time you get behind the wheel. Be patient, keep your speed down and if you're going to drink, don't drive.

"Remember, the best present you can give to anyone this Christmas is to arrive alive and spend the holiday with them safe and sound."

For further information contact:

Andy Knackstedt
LTSA Media Manager
Tel: 04 494 8751 or 025 763 222

Steve Fitzgerald
Police National Road Safety Manager
Tel 04 470 7334 or 025 435 024

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