Communities across Auckland will be calling for safe roads, vehicles and drivers as part of Road Safety Week 2019 (6-12 May), to help reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on roads.
This year Road Safety Week NZ coincides with the UN's Global Road Safety Week and has the same theme, Save Lives #SpeakUp. The global week calls for further leadership in road safety from governments to reduce road trauma, and calls on everyone to #SpeakUp about local issues that affect their community.
After a horrific start to the year on the roads, with the worst April in a decade, Brake, the road safety charity, who coordinates the week in NZ, says much more work is needed to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on our roads, and this event and campaign provides an opportunity for communities, organisations and individuals to #SpeakUp about issues that affect them.
In 2018, 377 people were killed on NZ roads . So far this year over 140 people have been killed, 45 of those in April alone. Thousands of others are seriously injured each year, and the social cost of crashes is now $4.8 billion a year .
Road Safety Week was launched by Brake, sponsors QBE Insurance and the NZ Transport Agency, NZ Police, St John, Auckland Transport, the Yellow Ribbon Road Safety Alliance, Safekids Aotearoa and others at Takanini School in Auckland (see photos).
The Takanini Residents' Action Group (TRAG) has been campaigning for road safety improvements around the school and in the local community. Issues they identified include drivers speeding and running Stop signs, and a lack of safe crossing points for pedestrians to local amenities such as the school, shops and Sikh temple. The launch included students from the school working with Police to conduct a driver behaviour survey. In 45 minutes, they spotted five drivers breaking the speed limit, 18 failing to stop at a Stop sign, four using a phone at the wheel and 12 not wearing a seat belt.
Takanini School is one of 300 schools, kindergartens, companies and communities getting involved in the week in Auckland, and one of more than 850 getting involved around the country.
The Yellow Ribbon Road Safety Alliance, a group of organisations committed to raising awareness of road trauma in New Zealand, is promoting use of the colour yellow to highlight road safety and show a personal commitment to safer roads, by distributing yellow ribbons and reaching out to government and businesses to light buildings in yellow during Road Safety Week.
The week is supported by the Associate Minister of Transport, Julie Anne Genter who says: "The number of deaths on our roads is simply heart breaking and I want to support this year's Road Safety Week theme of Save Lives, #SpeakUp. It's really important that we all speak up about road safety, whether it's at a personal or professional level. For instance, last year nearly a quarter (23% / 63 people) of all passenger vehicle fatalities involved people not wearing a seat belt. So if you're with someone who's not buckled up - speak up to them about it. In my role as Minister with responsibility for road safety, speaking up and delivering road safety outcomes that reduce, or eliminate, the number of lives lost or seriously injured in road crashes is the primary goal for me."
Caroline Perry, Brake's NZ director, said: "Every year families suffer the devastating consequences of crashes on our roads. There is a lot of work to do to reduce those deaths and serious injuries and we all need to speak up and make a difference. People make mistakes on roads, but those mistakes shouldn't result in death or serious injury. Others take unacceptable risks and put innocent lives in danger. We're urging everyone to speak up for road safety. Speak up for safe roads, safe speed limits, safe vehicles and safe drivers. No loss of life is acceptable on our roads. Join in with Road Safety Week and #SpeakUp about the issues that matter to you and your community."
Greg Lazzaro, General Manager, Safety, Health and Environment, NZ Transport Agency said: "It is a terrible fact that on average seven people die and more than 50 are reported seriously injured every week on New Zealand's roads. Every one of these deaths and serious injuries has a devastating and wide-reaching impact on our families and our communities. On top of these tragic human costs, it also imposes a social cost on New Zealand of $84 million per week, or nearly $4.8 billion a year. Human beings are fallible, and mistakes are inevitable, but simple mistakes shouldn't result in deaths and serious injuries. We need to look at this issue differently in order to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on our roads so we fully support the call to action to 'Speak Up' and encourage everyone to play their part in making our roads safer. The Government's new road safety strategy is set to be released later this year, this will provide you with another opportunity to Speak Up and have your say on road safety."
Superintendent Steve Greally - National Manager for Road Policing said: "Police wants people to be safe on the roads, but we need everybody's help to achieve that. Police puts a lot of effort into preventing the four main behaviours that contribute to death and serious injury on the roads. These are people not wearing seatbelts, child restraints, or helmets; impaired driving (including fatigue, drugs, or alcohol); driving while distracted (such as using a cell phone or otherwise not concentrating); and speed - both in excess of the limit and too fast for the conditions. What we'd like to see this Road Safety Week, and every day of the year, is everybody being aware of these behaviours and making the conscious choice to be safe and keep those around them safe. That means, drivers and riders ensuring everyone is properly restrained in a seatbelt or child car seat, or is wearing a helmet, never driving while impaired or distracted, and always driving at a speed and in a manner which gives you the greatest opportunity to react safely when the unexpected happens. It is every driver's responsibility to keep themselves, their passengers, and other road users safe. Police is happy to support Road Safety Week."
Filming, photo and interview opportunities
View our list of selected activities taking place in Road Safety Week. (These will continue to be added to prior to, and throughout, Road Safety Week).
We have a number of case studies of communities who are speaking up about issues in their area, and also bereaved and injured families. Some of these are available for interview. To arrange interviews with any of our volunteers, please contact Brake on the details below.
Road Safety Week resources
It's not too late to sign up and take part in Road Safety Week. Everyone who registers gets a free action pack of resources to help them promote Road Safety Week and run activities. Visit www.roadsafetyweek.org.nz for more info and to register.
Brake has released an interactive family road safety quiz as part of road safety week. Anyone can also show their support for the week by downloading the official signboard, writing their road safety message, taking a photo of it and posting it to social media.
Quotes from supporting organisations
Maria Lovelock, NZ Manager of Road Safety Education (RSE) and member of the Yellow Ribbon Road Safety Alliance said: "The Alliance believes that together we can all make a difference and change our road safety culture across New Zealand. As a society we need to change our mindsets about accepting a toll for using our roads and all pull together to drive more carefully and socially. Even the smallest decisions like speaking up as a passenger if you feel unsafe can improve our road trauma outcomes and ensure we all come home safely. We would like to encourage all New Zealanders to wear yellow this week and take the pledge to speak up for road safety with your loved ones and in your community."
Tony Devanney, St John Assistant Director of Operations (Field Operations) said: "St John emergency ambulance crews attend almost 20,000 road crashes each year. Many of these callouts have involved children. We repeatedly see children in vehicles either not belted in, in poorly fitted car seats or with no car seats at all; many of these incidents have caused distress or tragedy for families and their friends. We encourage motorists to take responsibility for the safety of themselves and their passengers. We also urge drivers to be patient and pay attention on the road and to drive to the conditions. St John fully supports Road Safety Week and the call for everyone to practise safe driving habits to help reduce the number of incidents and help New Zealanders to be safer on our roads."
Kelly Larsen, Fire and Emergency NZ said: "As first responders, Fire and Emergency NZ personnel see first-hand the devastation caused by motor vehicle crashes. All too often these result in death or serious injury, with far reaching impacts on whanau, friends, colleagues and our communities. It's important to remember that behind every statistic is a human face, and a family whose lives have been forever changed. This may be due to the loss of someone they love and care about, or the fact that survivors and their families are now facing challenges associated with injuries or psychological trauma. Each one of us has the ability to make a positive difference. Let's all take personal responsibility for making good decisions, role modelling safe driving behaviour to our tamariki, having the courage to #Speak Up to keep friends and family safe and working together to promote and encourage safe driving decisions."
Andrew Corbett, Chief Customer Officer at QBE New Zealand and Pacific said: "QBE is proud to support Brake's Road Safety Week for the eighth consecutive year. Road safety awareness and education are critical to improving the safety of our people, customers and all New Zealanders on our roads. We wholeheartedly support this year's call to individuals and businesses across the country to speak up for road safety."
To find out more or take part in Road Safety Week, go to www.roadsafetyweek.org.nz.
 2018 road deaths (provisional figures), 2019, Ministry of Transport
 Social cost of road crashes and injuries 2018 update, 2019, Ministry of Transport