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Published: 2009-11-25 00:00:00

A hard hitting road safety campaign targeting drivers who take risks is being launched this week across the Waikato region.

The first module in the multi-agency ‘Reduce The Risk’ campaign will focus on the dangers of cell phone use and fatigue.

The cell phone ads support the November law change banning hand-held cell phones. One advertisement in the first series features a mangled car wreck with the text message: ‘JST DRVN C U SN’ and ‘As last words go, these suck’. Another features a modified cell phone with the headline ‘SELF DESTRUCT BUTTONS’.

Fatigue advertisements and posters feature more car wrecks and people in coffins.

Regional Transport Committee Chairman Norm Barker said the campaign was unashamedly hard-hitting.

“The images and messaging show the often tragic results of taking risks while driving – something we’re all guilty of at times. It also sends a clear message to each driver that the choices they make could end up killing someone.

“The Waikato region is responsible each year for roughly 20% of New Zealand’s road deaths and serious injuries, and that toll is unacceptable.” In 2008, 73 people died and 312 were seriously injured.

In this regional campaign, road safety agencies have pooled their resources in a coordinated approach to driver education. Agencies contributing include Environment Waikato and the NZ Transport Agency, with additional support provided by local authority road safety co-ordinators, ACC and Police.

NZTA State Highway Manager Kaye Clark said that by pooling resources, the agencies and councils were able to mount a single campaign on a much larger scale which was both more effective and more efficient for all concerned.

“In the past, individual organisations have run some clever campaigns, but the regional approach makes much better use of everybody’s time and resources.”  

The first campaign module targets male drivers aged 20-44 and includes newspaper advertisements, website banners, large posters distributed to schools, Waikato University and businesses, direct business mailers and roadside billboards.

Future modules in the next 12 months will focus on drugs and alcohol, seatbelts and child restraints, speed, truck driver safety and visibility.

The Reduce the Risk campaign will use a wide range of media to get its message across, including ambassadors distributing flyers at events, plus radio ads, spraychalk messages on footpaths, toilet door and urinal messaging and viral email promotions.

A campaign website www.reducetherisk.co.nz features all the campaign messages, an email newsletter, plus online competitions. The website will also provide local authority road safety coordinators with access to download campaign flyers, ads and posters to print and use locally.