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Operation SafeStart Pushes Safe Driving Responsibilities

Drivers reminded to think about their safety and others on the roads leading into the summer holidays.

“Policing our roads alone cannot achieve the significant changes needed to prevent death and serious injury on our roads,” says Superintendent Steve Greally, Director Road Policing.

This is why Police and partners Waka Kotahi (NZ Transport Agency) and the Ministry of Transport are out, with Minister of Police Poto Williams, making sure drivers in Wellington are reminded of their safe driving responsibilities as New Zealand heads into the Christmas and summer holidays.

“We’ve lost 289 people on our roads already this year,” says Hon Poto Williams, Minister of Police. “That’s 289 families struggling with the tragedy of losing a loved one.”

The purpose of Operation SafeStart is to educate drivers about the risks associated with driving when tired, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, speeding, and driving without a seatbelt on.

“It’s all simple stuff but for some the message just isn’t getting through,” Supt Greally says.

“No Police officer wants to knock on the front door to tell a family that their loved one isn’t coming home. It’s the worst job in the world.”

The summer holidays are always a busy time with more cars on the roads moving around to spend time with friends and family for Christmas and New Year’s.

“We want everyone to enjoy their holidays but to do it safely. What we don’t want is for people to make a bad decision after a few drinks and get behind the wheel, endangering them, their passengers and everyone around them.”

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If you are going to drink, don’t drive. Organise a sober driver to pick you up, or use public transport, taxi or uber. If you plan how you’re getting home before you head out, there will be no risk of you making a bad decision later on.

It’s also that time of year when businesses and groups host end of year events. Police are encouraging organisers to think about how they will get their colleagues and friends home safely afterwards. Perhaps assigning designated drivers or paying for taxis or ubers.

Road safety is everyone’s responsibility.

Operation SafeStart will operate from 5.30pm Friday 26 November through to 1am Saturday 27 November in the Wellington region.

Drivers will be breath tested for the presence of alcohol and checked for fatigue, and officers will be checking that everyone in the vehicle is properly restrained.

Police will continue to be out on the roads deterring unsafe driving behaviour. If you see drivers being unsafe on the road call 111 immediately.

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