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First prize a car, second prize a coffin?

25 November, 2003

First prize a car, second prize a coffin?

The Green Party is questioning the mixed message sent in offering a new car as an incentive to participate in the new "Up to Scratch" road safety campaign, launched today.

"The Greens are totally supportive of the education campaign and continuous refreshing of driver knowledge of the road code," said Green Co-leader, Jeanette Fitzsimons. "However offering a new car as the top prize undermines the message of the Land Transport Management Act that we need to reduce our car dependence.

"Driver education is essential, but fewer vehicles would also make for safer roads and we need to encourage car-owners to start using their feet, their bicycle or their local bus and train, where they can.

"This prize sends the message that safety is about new cars with air bags and five star safety ratings, which rather undermines the message of the campaign, which is that safety is about safe drivers.

"The safest-built car in the world car can still speed, go through stop signs, turn without indicating and the driver can still fall asleep or get drunk. In those circumstances, the car will not save them or anyone else involved."

Jeanette Fitzsimons suggested that prizes more in keeping with the message of the campaign could have included a new bike and helmet, a year's free travel on rail, or a lifetime of free travel on local public transport - which would probably still cost less than the car.


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