Rising crash rates and road fatalities worry authorities

Road Safety and saving lives depend on all of us

Malini Yugendran
Auckland, December 31, 2022

Despite promotional campaigns, awareness programmes and road safety measures, traffic accidents continue to be a major killer, according to the New Zealand Police.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster and Deputy Police Commissioner (Iwi and Communities) have appealed to motorists to slow down on motorways and other long roads during the holiday season and remain safe.

But not everyone is listening.

Violation of traffic rules, drink driving and other offences continue but the incessant rise in vehicle crashes and collisions leading to deaths on our roads are on the rise.

The Ministry of Transport figures are disturbing.

Road fatalities up to December 25 this year had reached 33- more than one death every 24 hours.

While the annual figures are expected to be announced shortly, year 2022 has thus far seen 375 deaths due to road accidents, accounting for a rise of about 18% over the incidents recorded during 2021. While traffic accidents were understandably less last year because of Covid-19 lockdowns, road deaths in 2022 were about 8% less at 348, while Year 2018 recorded a higher figure of 378.

The prime factors

Speeding, alcohol and drug impairment, and driver inattention are the major causes of road mortality in New Zealand. These variables contribute significantly to the country’s road deaths. A number of precautions may be taken to ensure safe travel in New Zealand, especially during this festive season.

Exceeding Speed Limits: Observing speed limits is an essential approach to lower the risk of traffic accidents and deaths. Speed limits are designed to reflect road and traffic conditions and driving at or below the speed limit can assist to promote a safer driving environment for you and others. In New Zealand, the penalties for speeding may include fines, demerit points, and suspension or revocation of a driver’s license. The amount of the fine depends on the speed at which the vehicle was travelling and the location of the offence. For example, the fine for travelling 30 km/h or more over the speed limit in a residential area is generally around $630.

Alcohol, Drugs and Exhaustion: Driving while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or exhaustion increases the risk of accidents and deaths dramatically. It is critical to avoid driving when impaired and, if necessary, to organise alternate transportation. Drink driving and driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs are serious offences in New Zealand, and it is important to always drive sober to ensure the safety of yourself and others on the roads. For a first offence, the penalty is generally a fine and disqualification from driving for a minimum of six months. The fine and disqualification period may be increased depending on the level of impairment or if the driver was involved in an accident.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is important to note that the legal limit for alcohol in the blood while driving in New Zealand is 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. Drivers who are found to have a blood alcohol level above this limit may be charged with drunk driving, regardless of whether their ability to drive is impaired.

Some Safety Tips

Plan your route ahead of time and leave additional time for travel. This can help you avoid feeling rushed and agitated, which might raise your chances of getting into an accident.

Wearing a seatbelt is one of the most simple and effective strategies to lower the risk of injury or death in a car accident. Even on short travels, it is critical to always wear a seatbelt and ensure that all passengers in your car are likewise wearing seatbelts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distraction is a major cause of car accidents. It is critical to pay attention when driving and avoid activities that might divert your attention away from the road, such as texting or talking on the phone.

Keeping your car in good working condition might assist to lessen the likelihood of an accident on the road. Regular car maintenance, such as checking your tyres, brakes, and lights, may assist to ensure that your vehicle is safe to drive.

By following these tips and driving safely, you can help to reduce the risk of accidents on the roads during the festive season.

Malini Yugendran is an Indian Newslink Reporter based in Auckland.

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