Anna Leask

Anna Leask is senior police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

NYE: Who is driving you tonight?

Police urge partygoers to nominate sober driver before they go out on New Year's Eve.

Photo / Jason Dorday
Photo / Jason Dorday

Who is your driver tonight? That's the question police want all New Year partygoers to consider - before the celebrations begin.

The holiday road toll stands at four - compared with 15 at the same time last year - and police say the key to keeping the number down is for people to think hard about who is driving them, and whether they should be driving.

National road policing manager Superintendent Carey Griffiths said he had a simple message for anyone using the roads over New Year.

"Make good choices. Who's going to drive you home tonight? Make plans before you go out.

"Do not just chance it and see who is the least boozed at the end of the night. Often when we stop someone drink-driving they tell us that they are driving because they are the most sober in the group.

"Quite often they are really boozed - but their mates are really, really boozed. That's a fatality waiting to happen.

"Make the choice - either you're going to drink or you're going to drive. Just don't do both."

Mr Griffiths said fatigue was another leading cause of crashes over the holidays.

He said the 2012 road toll and holiday toll were tracking towards being among the lowest since the 1950s. The official holiday road toll started at 4pm on Christmas Eve.

Just after midday on Christmas Day the first fatality was recorded when Chinese national Rongmei Wang was killed in a two-car collision in Hamilton.

On Boxing Day, father-of-one Shane Curtis Tosh, 24, died when his Honda left the Dacre-Lorneville road north of Invercargill. Mr Tosh was the sole occupant of the car, which flipped and landed in a paddock about 6.30am. The funeral will be held today for the meat plant employee.

Just hours after Mr Tosh died, a 58-year-old Taumaranui man was killed when his car careered down a bank. Police are yet to name him.

On Friday, the toll rose to four when a 22-year-old man was killed at Ngapara, near Oamaru. Police said the man lost control of his car which slammed into a tree. Preliminary inquiries indicated speed and alcohol were major contributing factors in the crash.

New Year road safety tips

* Do not drive after drinking alcohol.

* Designate a sober driver before you go out partying and stick to the plan. If they are driving, they are NOT drinking.

* If in doubt - take a taxi. A few dollars could save your life.

* Plan your trip - take plenty of breaks and share the driving.

* Be patient on the roads and respect other road users, including cyclists and pedestrians.

* Drive to the conditions - the speed limit is not a target.

* Ensure everyone is wearing a seatbelt or child restraint.

* Don't exceed the speed limit.

- NZ Herald

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