Road safety day hits home

By Melissa Nightingale

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FIRED UP: Driving offenders watch a demonstration on not cooking while drunk, and how to put out a kitchen fire.PHOTO/STUART MUNRO
FIRED UP: Driving offenders watch a demonstration on not cooking while drunk, and how to put out a kitchen fire.PHOTO/STUART MUNRO

A drink driver who attended a road safety day for offenders will try to pass on what she learned to a friend who drink drives every week.

The road safety day, put on by Horizons Regional Council's Roadsafe team and Corrections, was a hit with attendees on Saturday, who had all committed driving offences.

One woman said after the demonstrations she was "very lucky" to have been caught driving drunk and not to have hurt anyone.

"I'm going to try to stop my friend from drink driving, she does it every week," the woman said.

Community Corrections service manager Lisa Owens said 51people with driving offences attended the educational day, which was "very, very well received".

"Some of the responses we got was that they realised how lucky they were with the decisions they made in the past, around perhaps what could have been, given that no one was hurt in their scenarios," Mrs Owens said.

Activities and demonstrations included an example of how to put out a kitchen fire - emphasising the message not to drink and fry - a mock car crash scene, a talk from a Clevelands funeral director about the process at a fatal car accident, information from police about drink-drive limits, and the basics of first aid.

Attendees learned about CPR for adults and babies, car restraints for children, the long-term effects of alcohol, and they watched a DVD of a car crash survivor talking about the long-term consequences of being involved in a fatal accident.

"As part of the offenders' assessment by Corrections, it was identified they could benefit from participating in activities promoting road safety, including [addressing] the harmful effects of alcohol and drugs, and the undertaker's role at a fatality. The majority of offenders attending the day were male with some being repeat drink-drivers," Corrections spokeswoman Heather Abbot said.

A DVD brought home the reality of car accidents to those present. It was about a man involved in a crash that killed two friends, including his brother.

"It brings it home to real life," said one man.

"I can see the other side. I've heard of accidents where people walk away, but there's often another side."

Mrs Owens said the DVD allowed those watching it to have a "visual experience of the consequences" of a fatal accident "without having to live through long-term suffering to gain the insight".

The man also liked Plunket's demonstration of how to correctly install child car restraints.

"How to get it right could save my son's life," he said.

Mrs Owens said people were asking relevant questions, and found everything helpful.

Asked what they found most helpful, they said "all of it".

Corrections holds the road safety day about twice a year.

Mrs Owens wanted to thank Horizons' Glenda Leitao and Corrections' Sandra Stewart for the work they put into the day.

Police, Whanganui firefighters, St John ambulance, Clevelands funeral directors, Plunket, ACC, and the WDHB all helped with the event.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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