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King: You have to stay alive to have fun

22 December 2005 Media Statement

King: You have to stay alive to have fun

The Christmas-New Year holiday period is a time to have good cheer with family and friends, but a road fatality is the surest way to kill good cheer stone dead, says Police Minister Annette King.

“The irony is that while New Zealanders set out to have a good time over the traditional summer holiday, they are also setting out at a time when there are an unusually high number of hazards associated with driving.

“Traffic volume is heavier, people are driving on unfamiliar roads, fatigue sets in with people driving long hours or at times they normally don’t drive, driving can be stressful and frustrating due to heat, traffic jams, noisy children, family tensions and general end-of-year tiredness, and people on holiday can let down their guard by driving too fast, not wearing a safety belt, or drink-driving.”

Ms King says: “New Zealand police are well aware of the ‘irony’, but there will be no double meaning to the way they police our roads throughout the holiday period. Their concentration will be on ensuring smooth traffic flows to keep frustration and delays to a minimum, on encouraging slower drivers to pull over safely, and deterring those who endanger the rest of us by driving too fast for the conditions, drinking and driving and other irresponsible behaviour.

“Far too many New Zealanders have still not got the message on drink-driving, but they can be assured the police will be on hand personally to deliver the message during the holidays. An anti-drink drive operation in North Shore, Waitakere and Rodney last weekend saw 60 people detected for driving with excess breath alcohol. There will be checkpoints around the country throughout the holidays. There’s nothing good or cheerful about any drink-driver.”

Ms King says there are a number of simple precautions every driver can take. “Give yourself time to make your journey, take breaks, share the driving, use air conditioning if your vehicle has it, buckle up, look out for young children on the roads, be patient, don’t speed, and don’t drink and drive.

“Most of all, don’t become part of a fatal irony. A holiday serves no purpose at all if you don’t come back from it. It is a waste of money --- and of your life.”

ENDS

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