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Safe driving this Easter weekend

20 March 2008 Media Statement

Safe driving this Easter weekend

Motorists heading away for a busy Easter are advised to take extra care on the roads, says Transport Safety Minister Harry Duynhoven.

"Many drivers and their families will be travelling over the next couple of days. There will be a lot of traffic on the roads and, as always, drivers need to be vigilant.

“Motorists need to be particularly aware of the dangers of driver distraction and driver fatigue.

“If you are driving long distances, plan your travel ahead and schedule in plenty of rest breaks along the way and make sure you are not tired and avoid falling asleep at the wheel. Look out for ‘Driver Reviver’ stops and take advantage of these.

“Drivers also need to be aware of driver distraction – this can be anything from eating or drinking in the car, changing a CD or being distracted by advertising billboards or scenery. They should also turn their cellphones off," says Mr Duynhoven.

“Motorcyclists should ride with their lights on to ensure they are easily seen on the road and motorists should do the same on the open road, as this has proved to reduce head on crashes.”

The official Easter holiday period runs from 4.00pm today (Thursday 20 March) until 6am on Tuesday, 25 March.

Last Easter, six people died on New Zealand roads and 202 were injured.

“Staying alert, driving to the conditions and keeping the road toll down is up to all of us. I want everyone to have a happy – and safe – Easter,” says Mr Duynhoven.

Media contact: Russell Bates, Private Secretary, 04 471 9802 or 021 569 240

There are a few simple steps drivers should take to increase their safety and the safety of their passengers and other road users:

 Drive to the conditions;
 Ensure everyone is wearing a seatbelt;
 Make sure your vehicle is road worthy;
 Keep your attention on the job at hand;
 Minimise distractions in the car;
 Don't drink and drive or speed; and
 If you are feeling tired, pull over and have a short power nap.

Easter Driving Facts

 The tolls for 2003, 2002 and 1998 were the lowest since the first available records for holiday periods in 1956. The previous lowest total was four deaths recorded in 1959. The highest recorded number killed is 21, recorded in 1971.

 All of the fatal crashes and half the injury crashes reported during the 2007 Easter weekend occurred on the open road.

 Forty-four percent of crashes were single vehicle crashes in which a driver lost control or ran off the road, 24% were intersection collisions, 10% were rear end crashes or collisions with obstructions (such as parked vehicles), 7% involved collisions with pedestrians, 6% were head-on collisions, 4% were overtaking crashes and another 4% were manoeuvring.

 Drivers losing control (31% of crashes), alcohol (25%), travelling too fast for conditions (22%), inattention (20%) and failing to give way (19%) were the most common driver factors contributing to crashes.

Easter Historical Road Statistics since 1980

Year Deaths Injuries
1980 15 213
1981 5 248
1982 13 240
1983 11 285
1984 15 258
1985 9 291
1986 15 254
1987 19 254
1988 12 283
1989 16 214
1990 17 237
1991 12 238
1992 12 185
1993 11 165
1994 10 228
1995 9 192
1996 7 229
1997 6 218
1998 3 176
1999 7 145
2000 6 134
2001 4 161
2002 3 214
2003 3 190
2004 4 170
2005 9 209
2006 5 170
2007 6 202


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