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Don’t Be A Domino… Keep Your Distance

Driving on Auckland motorways is no game, but a Transit New Zealand and RoadSafe Auckland safety campaign uses the game of dominoes to illustrate the importance of keeping a safe following distance while driving.

The new campaign - “Don’t be a Domino’, follows on from the successful “Merge like a Zip’ safety campaign, and focuses on motorists keeping a safe following distance while travelling on the motorway.

The initiative is in response to a rising number of “nose-to-tail’ incidents on Auckland’s motorways - drivers travelling too close to the vehicle in front of them and not being able to stop in time - causing nearly half of all motorway crashes. Between 1997 and 2001, 4430 rear-end crashes were reported on the motorways.

These crashes create a domino effect when several cars collide nose-to-tail; often creating traffic jams affecting thousands of motorists and resulting in huge time and economic losses.

The “Don’t be a Domino’ campaign compares cars piling up to dominoes falling over. Maintaining the domino theme, a fleet of “domino cars’ - black cars with white spots - will be a visible presence on the motorways to remind motorists to keep their distance.

Transit New Zealand Regional Manager, Wayne McDonald, said he believed the campaign would be highly effective because it vividly brings home to drivers the fact that travelling too close is bad driving and therefore highly risky.

“Getting drivers to understand the need to manage the space in front of them is an urgent task. By “space’ we don’t simply mean the space between you and the car immediately in front but, whenever possible, at least three cars ahead,” he said.

“Because so many drivers fail to properly manage the space ahead of them there are too many nose-to-tail collisions. More drivers must take responsibility and acknowledge the risks involved in travelling too close to the vehicle in front of them.”

Throughout the campaign motorists will be reminded to “keep a safe distance’ by “Don’t be a Domino’ billboards alongside motorway on-ramps, as well as by radio advertising and bumper stickers.

“We have to succeed in bringing this message across to drivers because, apart from making the driving environment safer, every nose-to-tail incident on the motorway has the potential to bring traffic to a standstill, adding to our congestion problem,” said Mr McDonald.

Land Transport Safety Authority Regional Manager, Peter Kippenberger, said he applauded the initiative as it was addressing a serious safety issue in an effective way. “Billboards in particular have proven to be an excellent medium for getting across safe driving messages to motorists at key points on their journey,” he said.

Mr Kippenberger said the “Don’t be a Domino’ campaign would also focus on younger and newer drivers who needed educating about safe driving habits, particularly those involving merging and following distances.

District Commander, Roger Carson, said the NZ Police would be supporting the “Don’t be a Domino” campaign by focusing on targeted enforcement of safe driving distances on Auckland motorways.

“Our motorway police will be concentrating on those motorists who fail to keep safe following distances,” he said. “Nose-to-tails are a serious problem on our motorways and we are determined to bring the number of crashes down.”

The “Don’t be a Domino” campaign was launched this morning (Tuesday 21 May) at the Motorway Police Headquarters in Northcote and will run till mid July.


Fact Sheet


“Don’t be a Domino¡K. Keep your Distance’

- 44% of all crashes on Auckland’s motorways are rear-end collisions.

- 75% of nose-to-tail crashes occur at the end of a queue.

- Generally more than two cars are involved.

- 4430 rear-end crashes were reported on Auckland Motorways between 1997 and 2001.

- Nose to tail collisions are primarily caused by:

Failing to maintain a safe following distance

Not concentrating on vehicles in front (ie brake lights)

Inattention/being distracted by stereo/mobile phone/radio etc

Failing to think ahead re traffic patterns

Poor merging and lane changing

- Contributing factors for crashes on Auckland’s motorway are:

Poor observation

Incorrect lanes/position

Too fast


Failed to give way or stop

- 25% of all rear-end crashes on Auckland motorways occur on Fridays.

- Motorway crashes peak in May.

- Rear-end type crashes are followed by

Loss of control on straights and bends

Overtaking and lane changing incidents

- More drivers aged 20 to 29 die in crashes on Auckland motorways than any other age group.

- Alcohol and speed related crashed have steady or downward trends.

- Don’t Be a Domino is the third annual motorway safety campaign partnered between Transit New Zealand and RoadSafe Auckland.

- Other key messages of the campaign are:

Keep a safe following distance

Manage the space in front of your vehicle

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