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Published: 2000-12-06 00:00:00

To raise awareness of the dangers of open road speeding, motorists driving in Northland, Auckland and the Waikato this summer will be asked, “Are you part of the dying race?”

Road safety agencies from Northland, Auckland and the Waikato have joined forces in a special speed reduction campaign in an effort to reduce speed, the leading cause of road deaths.

The campaign launched today will provide a consistent message to motorists travelling around the three regions over the next two months.

According to Land Transport Safety Authority Director Reg Barrett, excessive speed is the single biggest killer on our roads.

“Bigger than alcohol. Bigger than fatigue or driver inattention. Every year speed contributes to a full one third of our road fatalities. Last year it played a part in 153 road deaths and nearly 500 serious injuries.

Land Transport Committee Chairman Morris McFall said the campaign coincided with the peak in open road speed crashes traditionally experienced in these regions as people travel for both work and holiday.

“It is likely that the stress of the lead up to Christmas and the urgency that some motorists have to get to holiday destinations contribute to speed related crashes peaking during the next couple of months.”

National Traffic Safety Manager of the New Zealand Police Superintendent Steve Fitzgerald said few people realised that open road speeding was dangerous.

“Many open roads were originally designed for speeds less than 100km per hour. Recent efforts have been made to install advisory limit signs on corners and stretches of road with poor crash records, but there are examples of roads where appropriate speeds should be 80 or 90km/h. The police will be out on the roads this holiday period and a strong focus will be speed enforcement.”

“While most people are aware of the road conditions and drive in a sensible and courteous manner, we encourage motorists to overtake only when there is sufficient visibility, to heed advisory sign limits on corners, and slow down when it is wet. Maintaining good following distances is also a good practice as this gives a greater reaction time and does not pressure others to travel faster than is safe. For slower drivers, trucks or those towing, we ask that they pull over to let others pass,” said Superintendent Fitzgerald.

Throughout this new campaign, the national Police and Land Transport Safety Authority enforcement and advertising campaigns will continue with a focus on alcohol and speed. A number of local projects are currently being developed with the assistance of ACC injury prevention staff and resources that will further re-inforce to speeding drivers the community’s growing lack of acceptance of speeding.

The campaign is based around Land Transport Safety Authority data that shows the number of open road speed related crashes across the three regions peak in December and January, and between Thursdays and Sundays (i.e. nearly 70 percent of crashes).

Generally these crashes occur from mid afternoon and early evening (i.e. 40 percent of crashes occur between 2pm and 8pm) reflecting peak travelling times between home and holiday destinations and work related journeys with an element of fatigue. The morning between 7am and 11am is also a problem with around 25 percent of the crashes occurring between these times. Twenty to 39 year olds make up over 50 percent of the open road speed related casualties in Northland, Auckland and Waikato. Over 70 percent of these are males.

This media item was current at its release date. The facts or figures it contains may have changed since its original publication.