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Government deafness to cell phones pleas

Media Release.

Government deafness to cell phones pleas

Candor Trust, Wellington

The Transport Safety Minister claiming that cellphone driving can be addressed through a wider driver distraction campaign is diversionary not serious, says the Candor Trust. The harsh fact is that traffic issues such as cellphones, and the larger problems of fatigued and drugged driving are not prioritised - they're banned from the big agenda.

Governments response to widespread demand for action on non enforced issues during it's promising Safe As consultation round (a speed and alcohol indoctrination marathon turned bad for them) was to offer only low level education. As opposed to the major National advertising campaigns run to legitimise the moneymaker issues.

The localised education campaigns never materialised. Lately shrapnel was raised for a minor distractions campaign promised again under media pressure. LTNZ slyly pilfered the Road Safety Trust for this having made no allocation after the first promise of a campaign in 2006. It is on the board of the RST - a fund meant for community groups, for innovative road safety projects (technically banned). LTNZ often raids the NGO's fund point for sundry expenses.

This Governmental propensity for dodging real issues exists because LTSA's experimental road safety formula (lately updated at LTNZ to include a social deprivation factor) is all powerful, guaranteeing persistently high road tolls. It reads in simplified form as follows; Si ie social cost of crashes = (summation of operator road type x coefficient) (1-coefficient of speed / alcohol / seatbelt enforcement hours x exponent of traffic flow per km of road); Source Ministry of Transport. Fullstop.

When the Police and Transport Ministers and LTNZ's CEO advocated behind the scenes for action on issues not included in the formula - at meetings of the National Road Safety Council and by other means in 2006, their best attempts to save lives were trampled. Impotent, they were left in no doubt all effort and resources must be directed at legitimising LTNZ's experimental formula.

Perhaps because 3 analyses using different methodologies had shown that it was failing to impact upon NZ's road trauma. But it would seem self evident to anyone outside the Ivory Towers that tending to only 3 out of a possible 19 human factors in road trauma is not going to bear fruit.

Fatigue, drugs and distractions are the real issues now greatly spiralling out of control, the ones which won't experience diminishing returns from effort (given there is none). No different conclusion can be reached by anyone examining pure crash cause statistics, rather than the propaganda LTNZ spins. Thankfully other sources exist.

Candor estimate 90,000 Kiwis drove under the influence of illicitly used Drugs in 2007. NZ Police studies show equivalent numbers die on New Zealand roads as a result of Drugged Driving as are killed by drink driving.

In the past two weeks it is likely at least 1 out of 3 high school seniors has driven on drugs or ridden with someone who was. This claim assumes that New Zealand has an equal or greater drug problem than the U.S. which has found these figures; Source; Stop Drugged Driving.com.

There are several compelling indicators that more NZ youth crash while drugged than drunk, as checkpoints are fund raising sieves promoting drug driving and designated stoned drivers. Recent pot smokers are at the same risk as being at twice our alcohol limit (Vicroads presentation to Australasian Policing Conference 2007) which is over 40x.

New Zealand does not need that going unattended, nor to have perhaps equivalent numbers of drivers sporadically reaching 4x normal risk due to cellphone distraction (Charlton, University of Waikato - 3 News, 27 April). Nor the resolute inaction about drowsy driving (quarter of the road toll). A drugged, tired, txting yakky driver is no survivor.

As Candor observes the ongoing blustering and strengthening of an ineffectual road safety program, we reflect on our drowsy and drugged driving road safety protest (Wellington Railway Station, 2006). It seems it may be necessary to return there for another vigil, and to highlight the hundreds of road victims the idiot policy has gored since.


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