“Arrive alive these holidays. If you’re drinking, don’t drive.”
That’s the message from police and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) as Kiwis around the country prepare to hit the road over the Christmas and New Year holiday period.
NZTA general manager for safety, health and environment Greg Lazzaro says about 400 people continue to be killed or seriously injured on New Zealand roads every year in crashes where the driver was impaired.
A new advertising campaign by the agency targets drivers who have developed a sense of complacency about the risk of impaired driving, he says.
“Unfortunately there are still a lot of Kiwi drivers who don’t think it’s a problem to drive after drinking.
“They know drinking increases their chance of crashing, and they know the consequences of being stopped by police, but they’re still willing to take the chance.
“Anyone can make a mistake when driving, but alcohol impairment can turn that mistake into a life-changing, tragic event.
“Deaths and serious injuries on our roads are not inevitable, and New Zealanders absolutely do not need to accept that serious crashes are just another part of the holidays.”
National road policing manager, acting Superintendent Gini Welch, says no one’s holiday needs to be ruined by an avoidable tragedy on the roads this year.
Police will be working hard throughout the holidays and summer period to keep everyone safe and people have the power to make good decisions that will keep the roads safe, she says.
“We’ll be doing everything we can to prevent drink-driving through impairment check points and random roadside testing.
“But we also ask people to make responsible decisions that don’t risk lives.
“In the five years from 2015-2019, 374 people were killed in crashes where the driver was over the legal alcohol limit, and nearly 1600 people were seriously injured in those crashes.
“That’s a lot of lives, a lot of people who could still be here today or who would not be suffering the ongoing effects of serious injury had the drunk drivers in those crashes made a different choice.
“We know people like to socialise and celebrate at the end of the year and that’s okay.
“What we ask is that people plan ahead. If you’re drinking, don’t drive.
“That means getting a cab, or getting a mate to be the sober driver.”