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New Zealand Road Safety Innovation Awards Winners

Winners of first ever New Zealand Road Safety Innovation Awards announced today

Dairy company Fonterra has taken top prize at the inaugural New Zealand Road Safety Innovation awards for a comprehensive programme aimed at improving the safety of the company's large fleet of milk tankers. The award will be presented today (February 24) at a Wellington ceremony hosted by Transport Minister Paul Swain.

The prize-giving is the culmination of the first national awards programme for breakthroughs in New Zealand road safety. The Road Safety Innovation Awards recognise outstanding achievements in the following categories: Road Safety Community Promoter School Road Safety Corporate Road Safety Vehicle-Based Innovation and Improvement Road-Based Innovation

Inspired by the Prince Michael Road Safety Awards in the UK, the New Zealand awards highlight examples of road safety innovation in this country with the aim of encouraging others to follow suit. To be eligible for the awards, innovations must have originated within New Zealand or have been significantly adapted for New Zealand conditions.

Fonterra's 'Milk Supply Road Safety Initiative' took the Corporate Road Safety Award and the overall Premier Award after helping to reduce injury accidents among the company's tanker fleet by 63%.

Road Safety Awards two of five The multi-pronged initiative included the establishment of a contact centre and an 0800 number for members of the public to relay any concerns about milk tankers. Each tanker now carries a large unique fleet number, which ensures that calls from the public relating to an individual tanker can be taken up with the driver behind the wheel at the time.

Other innovative aspects of Fonterra's programme recognised by the judging panel included the appointment of national training and development co-ordinators to help driver trainers at each depot improve the skills and knowledge of staff, regular driver assessments, a review of workplace injuries, regular vehicle safety assessments and education of drivers about fatigue, seatbelts and other health issues.

"Fonterra is clearly committed to the health and safety of their own staff, but with this initiative they have also shown a commitment to the safety of other motorists who share the roads with their milk tankers, and that is why they've earned the Premier Road Safety Innovation Award," said Stewart Milne, former Secretary for Transport and chair of the awards' judging panel.

In addition to the Corporate and Premier Awards won by Fonterra, winning entries in each of the other four award categories were also announced today.

Road Safety Community Promoter The Gisborne-based Community Injury Prevention Unit (CIP) captured the Road Safety Community Promoter Award for the development of a drink-driving education programme highlighting the devastating impact of an alcohol-related crash on the life of a promising young athlete.

The Shattered Dreams programme includes a compelling video telling the story of Gisborne man Tamati Paul, a former surf lifesaving and outrigger canoe champion who was seriously injured in a crash with a repeat drink-driver near Tolaga Bay in 1998.

Tamati sustained severe multiple injuries in the crash, leaving him with impaired vision, memory loss and difficulty speaking and walking. But the crash did not break Tamati's spirit - he has learned to walk again, got back into kayaking and helped to turn his story into the Shattered Dreams video.

Road Safety Awards three of five The video and supporting material has been widely used by health promoters, educational institutions, youth workers, road safety co-ordinators and drug and alcohol workers across the country to promote sober driving.

School Road Safety Two rural schools from opposite ends of the country won awards for innovations in school road safety.

North Loburn School is located in South Island forestry country, 17km inland from Rangiora. The community had long held concerns for the safety of children travelling to and from school on roads traveled by an ever-increasing number of logging trucks. This concern led to the development of Sharing Our Roads - a learning partnership for rural schools and truck drivers. School staff met with local police, trucking firms, LTSA, the Waimakariri road safety co-ordinator and other schools.

The result was an educational programme where school children and truck drivers are brought together to learn about practical safety measures which can keep kids safe. Reflective safety vests have been provided to children riding bikes, trucking firms have voluntarily reduced the speed of their vehicles around the school, children feel safer and the community has developed a more positive view of truck drivers. At the other end of the country, Te Puru School has successfully separated its children from traffic around the school by developing a new parking and turning area for cars and buses. Te Puru school is situated 12km north of Thames on a small piece of land between the Firth of Thames and State Highway 25.

The school was acutely aware of the significant hazards posed by the lack of a designated parking area for the school bus and private cars, with many parents having to reverse across the highway's median line to change direction when dropping off or picking up their children. In order to create a safer environment for kids and parents to come and go from school, Te Puru staff and parents worked together with the local community to create a designated car and bus turning and parking area, including the creation of a safe waiting area for kids taking the bus - located well back from the highway.

Road Safety Awards four of five Vehicle-Based Innovation and Improvement

The award for Vehicle-Based Innovation went to Transport Engineering Research New Zealand (TERNZ) for the development of the world's first 'Static Roll Threshold' calculator, used to measure the stability of heavy vehicles and reduce their likelihood of rolling over.

The Static Roll Threshold (SRT) calculator developed by TERNZ is a simple, low cost tool which allows trucking companies, equipment suppliers and certifiying engineers to quickly and accurately measure the stability of heavy vehicles. In simple terms, a vehicle's static roll threshold is a measure of how much sideways force a vehicle can withstand in a steady curve without flipping over.

The SRT calculator allows operators an easy and accurate way of measuring their vehicles' SRT to ensure that they are safe and in compliance with the Vehicle Dimensions and Mass Rule, which requires all large trucks and heavy trailers to meet minimum stability levels. The LTSA asked TERNZ to devise the calculator to make compliance with the law easy and to reduce the high number of truck rollovers, as traditional methods of measuring SRT were too expensive and time consuming to administer to every vehicle on the road. The SRT calculator is freely available on the LTSA website.

Road-Based Innovation The award for Road-Based Innovation was won jointly by the Christchurch City Council and electronic signage firm High Technology Systems for a speed control system designed to implement temporary 40km/h speed limits in Christchurch school zones.

The Christchurch City Council introduced temporary 40km/h speed limits to reduce traffic speed outside schools with a high risk of crashes involving arriving and departing children. As no proven method of temporary speed control existed, the council undertook pioneering research, consultation and reviews, including two years of practical trials.

Road Safety Awards five of five After the trials proved successful, the council continued working with roading and traffic authorities, the community and High Technology Systems to finalise the legal, technical and operating standards for 40km/h School Zones.

By early 2003, nine Christchurch schools were using the company's fixed electronic LED signs to implement temporary 40km/h limits, and by early 2004 that number had risen to 15. Regular checks by police show excellent driver compliance with the 40km/h limit and few infringement notices issued. Opinion polls and feedback from schools and parents have shown strong public support for the temporary school zone speed limits.

As a result of their success in Christchurch, temporary school zone speed limits have been introduced at more at-risk locations in other parts of the country.

All entries in the Road Safety Innovation Awards were evaluated by a three member expert judging panel comprised of Stewart Milne, Dr Carolyn Cogan, Director of the Injury Prevention Research Centre at Auckland University, and Ginny Wilson, youth representative on the Road Safety Trust.

The awards programme is funded by the Road Safety Trust and administered by the Land Transport Safety Authority. The awards organising committee includes representatives from the New Zealand Automobile Association, the AA Driver Education Foundation, New Zealand Police, ACC and the LTSA. For more information on the awards, including the criteria for entry in the different categories, visit http://www.roadsafetyinnovationawards.org.nz

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