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Slow Down And Buckle Up' Message Behind Regional Road Safety Collaboration

‘Watch your speed’ and ‘wear your seatbelt’ are everyday road safety messages that take on extra resonance across Canterbury this month.

The region is the focus of road safety activities aimed at improving driving behaviour through enhanced collaboration between local councils and Police.

Inspector Natasha Rodley, Road Policing Manager for Canterbury, says the activities will target areas across the district. Events throughout November will reinforce the need for drivers to take responsibility for their safety and that of their passengers when behind the wheel.

“As we head toward the end of the year, people can get distracted thinking about Christmas and holidays coming up. The tendency to rush and not pay attention to your speed can pose a risk to you and others on the roads. We know that even low-level speeding will have a significant effect on the outcome of a crash and the injuries received.”

Crash analysis data shows that speed is one of biggest contributing factors to road deaths and serious injuries in Canterbury, with one in five fatalities in the district from 2018-2022 attributed to excessive speed. It was a more common cause of fatal deaths for the period than alcohol (11.9 %), distraction (4%) and fatigue (4.2%).

Restraints, such as seatbelts, play a significant role in reducing deaths or serious injuries too.

Over the same period, there were 47 deaths and 82 serious injuries where restraints were not worn.

Police have identified certain periods of the month where they will target particular districts, with attention on seatbelt and speed enforcement.

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It includes a focus on the Christchurch metropolitan area in mid-November to coincide with Show Week. Other areas of focus throughout the month include Hurunui/Waimakariri, Selwyn, Timaru and Ashburton. The collaboration will be promoted by local councils within the respective districts.

During the month, police will adopt a “spot-and-stop” policy: Drivers will be pulled over if they are detected speeding and checks carried out to see if they and their passengers are also wearing seatbelts.

While enforcement is one intent of the procedure, Police will also share a flyer with drivers explaining the need to keep within speed limits, why even travelling just 1-to-10 kilometres an hour over the speed limit is unnecessarily risky, and how essential it is to use seatbelts at all times when riding in a vehicle.

“Wearing a seatbelt increases the chances of surviving a crash by 40%,” Ms Rodley says.

“A seatbelt supports you if you’re involved in a crash or if the vehicle you’re in stops suddenly. In these situations, the force on the seatbelts can be as much as 20 times a person’s weight. If a seatbelt isn’t worn, this is how hard a person would hit the inside of the vehicle.”

Further road safety collaboration between Police and councils is planned for 2024 and will focus on high-risk driving behaviours.

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