The NZ Transport Agency is urging motorists in Otago and Southland to take care on the roads and enjoy a safe summer break.
NZTA Acting Regional Manager Murray Clarke says motorists should ensure they have plenty of rest before starting out on a long trip, make regular stops and have a backup driver.
Motorists should also take care to avoid being distracted from the road by passengers, scenery, fiddling with car radio/stereo systems. and using cell phones, including sending and reading text messages.
“It would be really gratifying to finish the year well given that we’ve so far had a considerable reduction in fatal and serious crashes this year on state highways in Otago and Southland,” says Mr Clarke
There have been 11 fatal crashes so far in 2008, seven less than last year and four less than the annual average over the last 5 years. There have been 66 serious crashes so far in 2008, 25 less than last year and 50 less than the last 5 years annual average.
“Every fatal or serious crash is a tragedy, and we would love nothing more than to see crashes reduce even further,” says Mr Clarke. “Nonetheless, it’s really positive to see such a significant reduction so far this year. It shows people are paying attention to the safety of themselves and others when travelling throughout the 2100 kilometres of state highway in Otago and Southland.”
“We urge motorists to keep up the good work, take special care on the roads during these busy holidays, and finish the year well.”
Mr Clarke says that despite the encouraging reduction in serious crashes, there are still some concerns.
“Of the 11 fatal crashes, five were drug or alcohol related. This is most disappointing given the publicity surrounding driving when under the influence of alcohol or drugs. “
“Another major issue is the number of crashes attributed to lack of concentration by drivers, likely to be caused by distraction, tiredness, and poor judgement. 42% of injury crashes fall into this category.”
Mr Clarke wishes motorists a safe and enjoyable summer break.
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