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Plea for people to follow road safety basics

So far, 15 people have been killed in road crashes in the Bay of Plenty. Photo: Daniel Hines.

People are being urged to follow the basics of road safety when travelling around the country.

In the Bay of Plenty, 15 people have been killed since January 1. The current road toll for all of NZ is at 117.

This year Easter Monday, Anzac Day and school holidays all fall in the same week, which means it’s likely to be extra busy on New Zealand roads.

“We want everyone to arrive safely at their destination these Easter holidays, so the key message from NZ Transport Agency, New Zealand Police and ACC is to plan ahead and follow the basics of road safety,” says NZ Transport Agency Acting Director Safety and Environment, Niclas Johansson.

“At any time on our roads, following these simple rules can be the difference between a safe trip or a tragic outcome:

• drive at a safe speed – depending on weather and other conditions this may be lower than the posted speed limit
• always wear a seatbelt
• don’t drive when tired and avoid alcohol
• focus on the task of driving – distractions can be deadly, so put your phone away and keep your focus on the road.

“Congestion and delays are inevitable during holiday periods, so we also want to remind everyone to leave plenty of time for their journey, drive to the conditions and plan ahead before leaving home.”

The Transport Agency predicts traffic will be especially heavy on Thursday 18 April and Good Friday 19 April, and then on the return journey on Sunday 28 April.

“Last year, we had 387 motor vehicle accident claims over the Easter period, a substantial increase from the previous year of 312,” says ACC’s chief customer officer Emma Powell, “and this year the risk will be higher with busier roads.

“It takes everyone on the road to make it safe and look out for those most vulnerable – such as motorcyclists and young drivers (aged 16-24).”

Young drivers were injured in almost a third of motor vehicle accidents last Easter, so this group needs to be extra vigilant.

“Our advice is to be aware of the increased number of vehicles around you as this can create challenging driving conditions and pay extra attention in rural areas, where roads can be more demanding,” says Emma.

“Planning your journey, driving within your own capabilities and adjusting for the driving conditions are key to your own and other road users safety.”

“During holiday periods when the roads are busier than usual, the risk of drivers making mistakes that result in injuries or deaths increases,” says Inspector Peter McKennie, Manager Operations National Road Policing Centre.

“That’s why everyone needs to pay full attention to the road safety basics over the holiday period.

“Over the holiday period from 4pm Thursday 18 April to 6am Tuesday 23 April – if you're detected by a safe speed camera exceeding the posted speed limit by more than 4 km/h, you will be ticketed.

“Police will be out on the roads doing our bit to keep people safe, but it’s critical that everyone takes responsibility for the safety of themselves and other road users.”

Plan ahead for a safer journey

• Plan ahead for a safe, enjoyable Easter holiday with the help of NZ Transport Agency’s interactive holiday journeys map.

The map shows predicted traffic flow across popular journeys over the Easter and Anzac holidays based on previous years’ travel patterns.

www.nzta.govt.nz/holidayjourneys

• Look for an alternative route, or consider leaving when traffic is lighter, either early in the morning or late at night.

• Because predicted peak times can change based on incidents, weather and even driver behaviour, check real time traffic information on the NZTA Journey Planner website before you set off. www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz

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