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Christmas driving fatigue stops in Western Waikato

Christmas driving fatigue stops in Western Waikato

Western Waikato Police are urging drivers to plan ahead for their holiday driving, ensure they're well rested and not under stress so they arrive at their destinations alive and well.

Combining with Waikato District Council Road Safety Coordinators, Police are staging a number of fatigue checkpoints in the Western Waikato to ensure drivers stay alert on the road.

Sergeant Juliet Burgess of the Huntly Strategic Traffic Unit said the aim of the stops was to educate drivers on the risks of driving while fatigued.

"Currently its assessed 14% of all fatal crashes nationwide involve driver fatigue while in the Waikato the figure is about 10%.

"We'd rather drivers take breaks during long trips, yes their trip may take a little longer but that's better than their families having to make funeral arrangements over Christmas."

Fatigue is defined as tiredness, weariness or exhaustion. You can be fatigued enough for it to affect your driving ability long before a person 'nods off'.

People who are fatigued suffer from slower reactions, reduced concentration with tired drivers often crossing over to another lane.

The only cure for fatigue is sleep.

"In the Huntly sub-Area we've had three crashes over the last 12 months where fatigue is considered a contributing factor including a double fatality on SH1 on 14 December 2008 and a single fatality crash on SH39 in Ngaruawahia the following day.

"We also believe fatigue played a factor in the death of a woman in a crash on SH1 Meremere on 26 April when she pulled out in front of a vehicle at an intersection."

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During the fatigue stops drivers will be given a drink, something to eat and reading material advocating the use of breaks, power- naps and planning your trips over the holiday period.

"During the holiday break traffic volumes are often higher than normal, particularly on routes to favourite holiday destinations," said Sgt Burgess.

Media interested in attending the fatigue stops are encouraged to contact Sgt Burgess at the Huntly Police Station on 07 8287560.


Please view the full news release online at:

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