Sandra is a senior crimes and justice reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Extra police called on for long weekend

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Constable Ian Sadler monitoring the Labour Weekend traffic on the Takitumu Drive overbridge. Photo/Andrew Warner.
Constable Ian Sadler monitoring the Labour Weekend traffic on the Takitumu Drive overbridge. Photo/Andrew Warner.

Police will be cracking down on speedsters, lack of seatbelts and people using cellphones while driving this long weekend.

Local emergency services staff and New Zealand Transport Agency are urging motorists to take extreme care on local roads.

So far this year 14 people have been killed on Western Bay roads, that included 30-year-old Tauranga truckie Martin Ferry in a horror smash at Pongakawa last Thursday.

Mr Ferry will be farewelled tomorrow.

Head of Western Bay of Plenty road policing Senior Sergeant Ian Campion said police would be out in force both on the state highways and the main roads this weekend.

Mr Campion urged motorists to keep their speed down and buckle up.

"Police will be focusing on excessive speed, checking that everyone is wearing their seatbelt or restraint correctly, and drivers are not using mobile phones," he said.

Mr Campion said police wanted to remind drivers in the Western Bay of Plenty to take extra care with their travel plans to ensure they arrived safely at their destination.

"If you are involved in a crash, regardless of the cause, speed is the single factor that most affects the outcome. It's the difference between serious injury and death, being maimed for life or walking away," he said.

Mr Campion said urged drivers to focus on their driving and keep distractions to a minimum.

St John Ambulance Western Bay territory manager Ross Clark urged motorists to be extra vigilant when travelling around the district and to drive with extreme care.

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"We want to minimise the number of people involved in a crash this weekend, particular given the number of serious crashes we have had recently."

Mr Clarke said as one of the first responders at crashes St John Ambulance staff saw first hand the trauma and carnage from a moment's inattention.

He also urged motorists to pull over to the left and stop when they saw emergency service vehicles approaching as every minute counted in the case of a serious crash.

NZ Transport Agency's Waikato and Bay of Plenty state highways manager Niclas Johansson urged motorists to reduce their speed, increase their following distances, and plan ahead.

"When you combine the high number of cars on the road, tiredness, and driving on unfamiliar roads, it can create a stressful situation which can in turn lead to mistakes."

Fire Service Bay of Plenty coast area manager Murray Binning said the service backed the police's road safety messages as fire crews were also involved in dealing with the aftermath when things went terribly wrong.


Other tips to help yourself and others to stay safe

• Be a legend - stop mates and whänau driving drunk

• Plan breaks and take your time

• Make sure everyone wears a seatbelt or appropriate restraint

• Drive considerately - the way we drive affects others

• If towing, or driving slowly, pull over to allow other vehicles to pass

• Call *555 report inconsiderate or unsafe driving to police.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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