Please Keep Safe On Our Roads This Christmas
Transport Minister Mark Gosche urged motorists to keep safe on the roads this Christmas.
"Christmas is one of the worst times of the year for road crashes, deaths and injuries," he said.
"I'd like to urge all motorists to please drive safely on our roads."
The official holiday period starts at 4pm today and runs through until 6am on Wednesday 3 January.
In June the Labour-Alliance Coalition Government announced a new $152 million road safety package that saw the first increase in road safety spending in six years.
"This Christmas the new Highway Patrol will be watching over our roads, making them safer for all travellers. Evidence shows that road traffic policing is most effective when Police are clearly visible and display an obvious presence."
"However all motorists need to play their part in making our roads safer and cutting down the number of people killed and injured in car crashes."
The volume of traffic on the roads increases sharply over the coming weeks and drivers should plan ahead and budget extra time for travel said Mr Gosche.
"Take your time, share the driving if you can and rest regularly to avoid fatigue if travelling long distances."
Mr Gosche also stressed the importance of buckling in – particularly making sure that children are safely strapped in as well.
"Seat belts save lives. A lot of families will be travelling these holidays and I'd like to remind all travellers that it is the driver's legal responsibility to see that children under 15 are using seatbelts or approved child restraints."
Drink/driving is a particular concern over the holidays and people need to prepare safe transport well in advance he said.
"If you're drinking alcohol – please don't drive. Plan ahead and work out how you are going to get home safely before you start drinking."
"Our road toll is going down, however we still lost more than 400 lives on New Zealand roads over the past 12 months , thousands more were seriously injured or maimed."
"By driving carefully motorists can help make sure this holiday season will be a time for celebration, not mourning."