Heart-breaking weekend on road, we all need to do better

Police and Waka Kotahi are reminding people it takes everyone to get to no one.

After a horrific weekend where 11 people lost their lives on the road, Police and Waka Kotahi are reminding people they need to take responsibility and make good decisions every time they are on the road.

“It’s totally unacceptable that so many lives were lost over a few days,” Assistant Commissioner for Police Bruce O’Brien says.

“On top of that, there will be people who survived crashes who will be left with life changing injuries. Some people have months of recovery, some people sadly never recover. We accept as Police that we have an important role to play in keeping people safe on the road. That is why we are out there unapologetically focusing on people speeding and pulling over drivers who are clearly not focused on what they are doing.”

“Make no mistake, we will continue to do that, and we have committed to lifting our performance even more. However, Police alone cannot change the number of people dying on our roads. Nor can our road safety partners,” Assitant Commissioner O’Brien says.

“The fact is, drivers and riders need to take some responsibility. Police can’t be on every single street corner or every stretch of highway. Every road user needs to play their part in getting to where they are going safely.

“It’s not hard and I’m struggling to understand how we are still having this conversation. We are simply asking that people treat driving, or motorbike riding, with the care and respect it deserves.”

“Slow down, pay attention, if you’ve been drinking – don’t drive, and always wear your seatbelt – or helmet if you’re a rider. These aren’t big asks. And if people paid attention and followed these basic safety pointers, we wouldn’t keep losing lives on the road, Assistant Commissioner O’Brien says.

“I feel for the families and friends who are grieving the loss of their loved ones right now. Their lives have been changed forever. So let’s stop any more families from having to go through that. Let’s all play our part in taking better care on the road.

“And if you have a family member or friend who you think shouldn’t be driving because they’ve been drinking, stop them and take away their keys. If you know someone who likes to go faster than the speed limit, have a conversation with them. Tell them you care about them and you’re worried about the potential consequences of their actions.”

“If we all make an effort, then together we can turn things around. We have a target to reduce death on the road by 40 percent by 2030, and that will truly take a collective effort from every road user in New Zealand. Police and our partners are committed to playing our parts. We are asking that our communities do the same,” Assistant Commissioner O’Brien says.

Waka Kotahi Director of Land Transport, Kane Patena, says these losses will have a devastating impact on the families and wider communities of those who have died.

“Tragically, this weekend’s events are not isolated, but rather part of a huge public health issue which affects Aotearoa all throughout the year. For every person killed on our roads, another seven sustain serious injuries, many of which are life-long and debilitating.”

“It’s time that as a country we stopped accepting that a certain amount of death and serious injury is just the price we pay for our mobility. New Zealand’s Road to Zero strategy is based on the belief that no-one deserves to die or be seriously injured on our roads, even when they make mistakes.

“Deaths and serious injuries are preventable, as individuals we all have a responsibility to follow the road rules, wear our seatbelts and avoid driving while impaired or distracted.”

“In our role as a government agency, reducing crashes is about much more than just how we drive – it’s about making all the different parts of the system safer – roads, vehicles, speeds, and people. We are committed to playing our part,” Kane Patena says.

/NZ Police Public Release. This material from the originating organization/author(s) may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s).View in full here.