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Increasing awareness for safer rural roads at the Fieldays

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The NZ Transport site at the Fieldays, at Mystery Creek near Hamilton, aims to increase awareness, understanding and support for safety improvements on rural roads.

The tent, at site D-57, will provide information on general treatments, barriers, the Safety Boost programme (which includes intersection speed zones) and an overview of all safety projects nationwide. There will also be expert speakers, two remote control car tracks for visitors to manoeuvre vehicles down, and a BBQ for visitors at around lunchtime.

Karen Boyt Waikato System Manager says Fieldays is a major event which attracts visitors from around New Zealand and internationally.

“Many of these people live in rural areas, and will have an understanding of the challenges of driving on rural roads,” she says. “We’re hoping people take a moment to learn more about safety improvements and how they can save lives on our rural state highways.”

Performers dressed in safety treatment hero costumes – flexible safety barriers, rumble strips and wide centrelines – will engage with passers-by, encouraging them to come into the tent and learn more about what is being done to make roads safer.

The government is investing $600m over 10 years, targeting the prevention of 900 deaths and serious injuries on high-risk rural state highways over a decade.

Around 1500 kilometres of rural state highways throughout the country are being made safer through relatively simple measures, such as rumble strips, shoulder widening, safety barriers, better signage and changes to speed limits.

“Many deaths on our roads are caused by head-on collisions or vehicles running off the road and hitting trees, poles or ditches,” Karen says. “This programme recognises people make mistakes, but these mistakes don’t have to cost lives. Safety improvements to a road and the environment around it can significantly reduce the severity of injury or the likelihood of death, in the event of mistakes. These internationally proven strategies make our roads more forgiving of human error.”

The Fieldays begun today Wednesday 13 June and finish on Saturday 16 June.

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