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Alcohol A Factor In One Third Of All Road Crashes



FEBRUARY 29 2008

Alcohol A Multi-Million Dollar Factor In One Third Of All Road Crashes

Alcohol is believed to be a factor in a third of road crashes in New Zealand each year, costing the country $50 million in medical and rehabilitative costs alone.

``That’s a huge figure, and one that is largely preventable,’’ said ACC Injury Prevention Programme Manager Phil Wright. “It’s clear that in many cases New Zealanders are simply ignoring the drink-drive message, or gambling that it won’t be them that crashes or kills someone.

``Over the past five years the cost of ACC claims from all motor vehicle injuries and deaths has risen by 45%. In the 2006/07 year 6153 injury claims were made, compared to 5500 the year before. That’s an increase of nearly 12% in one year alone.

``Without the police booze bus programme and their strong enforcement of our drink drive laws, those claims might be much higher,’’ Mr Wright said.

ACC has contributed to making two new booze buses, which were launched in Auckland this morning, as visible as possible by funding the new high-profile appearance. ``High visibility is the key to deterring would-be drunk drivers who might be tempted to take the risk.’’ Phil Wright said.

There are over 1000 outlets licenced to serve and sell liquor in Auckland’s CBD alone. It is estimated that 25,000 to 30,000 people visit the CBD over Friday and Saturday nights for entertainment.

``These new buses are sure to be put to good use,’’ Mr Wright said. ``Booze buses are a feature of police work around the country. As the old buses are replaced, ACC will continue to make the new ones as visible as possible.’’

He said Ministry of Transport statistics show the programme is sorely needed. Figures from 2004-2006 indicate that the worst areas for fatal crashes involving alcohol were Gisborne, Bay of Plenty, Northland, Auckland and Wanganui-Manawatu.

``In Gisborne, 56% of fatal crashes involved alcohol,’’ Phil Wright said. ``That’s simply an unacceptable waste of priceless life. ACC supports the Police in all the work they do to bring down the roadtoll and to catch the shameful number of drunk drivers who are caught each year.’’

``We all pay for road accidents, whether it’s through our ACC levies, or the personal cost of a family member or friend being hurt or killed. It’s simply unacceptable that drunk drivers continue to kill innocent New Zealanders.’’

The two new buses will be on display for media at the Harbour Bridge Policing Centre, 28 Sulphur Beach Road, Northcote Point - North Shore, Auckland at 10.15am Friday, February 29.


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