Please drive safely this festive seasonTransport
Transport Minister Steven Joyce is reminding motorists to take care on the roads this festive season.
"Everyone is looking forward to a relaxing break over summer, but it is also the busiest time on the roads. Please use common sense and patience when driving so your holiday break is memorable for the right reasons," says Mr Joyce.
The holiday driving period officially begins at 4pm on Thursday 24 December and runs until 6am on Tuesday 5 January 2010.
During this period last year, 25 people were killed, 82 seriously injured and 373 received minor injuries.
Speed, alcohol and fatigue were common factors in many of these crashes.
Mr Joyce says there's no excuse for risky behaviour.
"Drivers who have had too much to drink, who speed or take other risks are not just taking a gamble with their own lives - but with those of everyone else on the road as well."
The 2008 road toll was 365, so far this year it's 370 with 8 days to go.
"All New Zealanders have a responsibility for road safety - we must stay focused and drive to the holiday conditions."
"It's much more important to arrive safely a little later, than to take risks that place you and other road users in danger."
"Please remember that the new ban on handheld mobile phone use is now in place. It has proven effective over the last couple of months. Make sure you don't return to risky old behaviours over the break."
Other legislation brought in this year combats drugged-driving with the introduction of road-side impairment testing, plus further measures to crack down on illegal street racing.
Road Safety Tips
- Drive to the conditions, and stay alert and be ready to slow down when the road or weather conditions change.
- Holiday driving has its special hazards so motorists should be patient and adjust their speed accordingly. There will be a variety of vehicles on the roads - cars, motorbikes, cyclists, trucks, buses, campervans/caravans and pedestrians - so take care to share the road.
- There is simply no excuse for speeding, drink driving and risky overtaking. Take personal responsibility to ensure you stay safe these holidays.
- Recognise the signs of oncoming driver fatigue and take action. Pull over for a 20 minute power nap, get someone who is not tired to drive or just break the journey with regular stops.
- Being distracted from the driving task is a risk to you and your family. Good drivers just drive.
Follow the simple road rules:
- Have your vehicle checked before travelling
- Always be courteous and patient with other road users
- Always wear your safety belt and ensure passengers do the same
- Be extra vigilant around children, cyclists and pedestrians; and
- Remember good drivers just drive.
Remember there are new road rules in place. These include a ban on hand held mobile phone use while driving, and a requirement for motorcyclists and mopeds to use headlights during the day. Information on these and other new rules is available on: www.nzta.govt.nz
Police may also test drivers they suspect of being impaired by drugs. More information is available on: www.transport.govt.nz