Police warning ahead of driving season

By Brendan Manning

Keeping the kids entertained in the car these holidays can avoid fatal consequences, Wanganui police warn.

Wanganui traffic Sergeant Colin Wright said he attended two of the three fatal crashes on Wanganui roads this year.

With the holiday season around the corner, he urged motorists to get their vehicles checked, not drive tired and to plan rest stops on journeys.

Children often were distracting on long trips so it was important to keep them entertained, Mr Wright said.

"Children tend to distract drivers and [drivers] turn around to try and deal with it and end up off the road."

The "famous five" crash causation factors were speed, distractions, poorly maintained vehicles, intersections and alcohol, Mr Wright said.

Three people have died on Wanganui roads this year.

National road policing manager Superintendent Carey Griffiths said as the holiday season approached, drivers must decide whether to drink or drive before heading out.

"Don't go out and have a couple of drinks and then try and make a decision during the night if you're going to drive home or not."

Motorcyclists needed to execute extreme caution when riding in larger groups to avoid more tragedies.

"It's just common sense. The message from me, as a fellow motorcyclist is give yourself plenty of room, by all means ride in a group, but just leave lots of spacing." The "two big things" needed to keep the road toll down were common sense and being polite, Mr Griffiths said. "It's all of those incivilities on the roads that contribute to crashes."

Last year's road toll was the lowest in over 50 years, with 284 people killed, compared with 375 in 2010, 384 in 2009 and 366 in 2008.

The last time the road toll was below 300 prior to that was in 1952 when 272 people died.

With the holiday season nearly upon us, the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) is urging teen drivers and their parents to check out the safeteendriver.co.nz website.

The website encourages parents to help inexperienced teen drivers identify hazards and consider how to manage those risks.

NZTA data shows teen drivers are most at risk of having a serious crash in the first six to 12 months of driving solo on a restricted licence. When a young driver has two or more passengers in the car, they're 10 times more likely to crash than if driving alone. APNZ


Road toll (year-to-date):

Wanganui's toll: 3

Motorcyclists: 1

Pedestrians: 2

Nationally 2012: 275

Nationally 2011: 256

- Wanganui Chronicle

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