Expo to target young drivers

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A drink-driving expo is returning to the Bay to deliver hard-hitting messages to young drivers.

Western Bay of Plenty Bluelight project manager Wendy Nicholls said the reason for the expo was simple - young drivers caused nearly half of all alcohol-related road crashes, and approximately 1000 young people were killed or injured on New Zealand roads each year.

She said television commercials and advertising campaigns helped spread the anti-drink-drive message, but concerns continued to grow about the high volume of alcohol consumed by teens who continued to get behind the wheel.

"This latest trend is perhaps reflective of New Zealand's binge drinking culture," she said.

"This expo aims to address these attitudes and encourage young people to make more informed choices."

International guest speakers would talk about living with the effects of drink-driving, not with the intent to shock but to drive home the devastating impact drink-driving could have for victims and their families.

Tauranga police tactical coordinator Inspector Karl Wright-St Clair said young men aged 15-22 accounted for more than 25 per cent of all individuals who were charged with alcohol-related offences.

"We know road deaths and injury are preventable in our community. By attending this expo, young people and their parents will be better equipped to contribute to shaping attitudes and behaviours to reduce drink-driving in our community."

This year's event would be held at Classic Flyers from June 5-8.

Year 11 students from all local secondary schools would attend the event, while the general public was invited to attend the free community session on Thursday June 7 at 7pm. The expo was sponsored by the NZ Transport Agency and Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust (TECT).

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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