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Road Policing Xmas Key Messages


Road Policing Xmas Key Messages


Christmas Holiday Driving 2007

The official holiday period will begin at 1600 hrs on Monday 24 December 2007 and end at 0600 hrs Thursday 3 January 2008.

The road safety theme that New Zealand Police would like to promote these holidays is fatigue. This is supported by an advertising campaign which includes billboards, radio magazine advertising and a TVC which is currently on air.

This theme is also supported by a call for all drivers to keep their headlights on while driving to increase their visibility.


Key Messages - Fatigue

 Fatigued driving is a serious road safety issue.

 'Normal' levels of tiredness aren't usually perceived as harmful. The majority drivers are unaware of the symptoms of fatigue that lead to poor concentration and poor judgement on the road.

 If they consider fatigue, they also believe they can control tiredness by doing things like winding down windows or drinking coffee. However, fatigue is a serious road safety issue and the need for sleep is beyond conscious control.

 In 2006, it killed more than 40 people and injured nearly 1000 people.

The most common effects of fatigue on driving are:
 difficulty keeping a vehicle within its lane;
 drifting off the road;
 frequent and unnecessary changes in speed and
 not reacting in time to a dangerous situation.


20th December 2007


Take care and prepare

Police are urging motorists to prepare well for driving these holidays and to be especially aware of the dangers of fatigue.

"We ask drivers to take care every year at this time," said Inspector Carey Griffiths, National Road Policing Operations Manager,
"but each year there are families whose Christmas break is characterised by tragedy."

Some of the most dangerous issues around driving at this time are the numbers on the roads and also the stress that many drivers are under.

Many people do not stop to prepare properly for the journey and fatigue can pose serious risks for everyone.

"'Normal' levels of tiredness aren't usually perceived as harmful, especially at this time of year. The majority drivers are unaware of the symptoms of fatigue that lead to poor concentration and poor judgement on the road."

"If they consider fatigue, they also believe they can control tiredness by doing things like winding down windows or drinking coffee."

However, fatigue is a serious road safety issue and the need for sleep is beyond conscious control. In 2006, it killed more than 40 people and injured nearly 1000 people.

The most common effects of fatigue on driving are the difficulty of keeping the vehicle within its lane, drifting off the road, frequent and unnecessary changes in speed and not reacting in time to a dangerous situation.

"Sensible precautions such as ensuring that you have time to make the journey without rushing, being as courteous and patient as possible, taking breaks and driving with your lights on will all help to ensure that you get there safely," said Inspector Griffiths today.

Police will be out in force over the holiday period and will prosecute every driver caught speeding or driving without a safety belt to deter unsafe driving which puts lives at risk.
ENDS

For further information:

Media pager: 026 101082


Lesley Wallis -Communications Manager - Road Policing
0272209752

Crash Statistics

During the 2006/2007 Christmas holiday period there were six fatal crashes and 286 reported injury crashes. Those crashes resulted in nine deaths, 91 serious injuries and 351 minor injuries.

The deaths included:
6 drivers
3 car and van passengers

Eight of the nine deaths and 57% of the injuries occurred on the open road.

Forty-six percent of crashes were single vehicle crashes in which a driver lost control of the vehicle or ran off the roadway. A further 17% were intersection collisions, 10% were head on crashes and 10% were rear end collisions or collisions with obstructions.

The most common factors contributing to reported crashes over the holiday period were ‘driver losing control’ (29% of crashes), ‘alcohol’ (19%), ‘travelling too fast for conditions’ (19%), ‘inattention’ (16%), ‘failing to give way’ (15%), ‘did not see other party’ (12%), ‘inexperience’ (10%) and ‘fatigue’ (10%).

Of the nine vehicle occupants killed, two were not restrained at the time of the crash.


Historical

Year Deaths Injuries
1980 / 81 32 481
1981 / 82 35 602
1982 / 83 18 473
1983 / 84 17 523
1984 / 85 13 439
1985 / 86 25 532
1986 / 87 31 554
1987 / 88 22 544

1988 / 89 16 594
1989 / 90 19 596
1990 / 91 18 487
1991 / 92 17 537
1992 / 93 29 528
1993 / 94 17 372
1994 / 95 19 542
1995 / 96 26 598
1996 / 97 14 432
1997 / 98 26 387
1998 / 99 24 391
1999 / 00 17 398
2000 / 01 20 409
2001 / 02 21 417
2002 / 03 17 323
2003 / 04 13 408
2004 / 05 11 513
2005 / 06 22 488
2006 / 07 9 442


The lowest Xmas holiday period road toll on record occurred during 1959/60 when eight deaths were recorded. Nine deaths were recorded in 1966/67.

The earliest year for which records for holiday periods are available is 1956/57.

ENDS

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