United Nations Road Safety Week campaign appeals to Wellingtonians to save kids’ lives

Schools, communities and companies across the region will be marching for kids' safety as part of UN Global Road Safety Week 2015 (4-10 May), to help #SaveKidsLives and prevent children and young people being killed and injured on roads.

Every year 19 children are killed and more than 270 are hospitalised after a road crash in New Zealand, and around the world more than 500 children are killed every day as a result of road traffic crashes [1].

Brake, the road safety charity, is coordinating Road Safety Week in New Zealand with support from Safekids Aotearoa, the NZ Transport Agency, NZ Police, and sponsor QBE Insurance. The Week will be officially launched by Giant Walks organised by Brake and kids at schools and kindergartens across New Zealand, with children holding banners reminding drivers to look out for kids and slow down. (See police speeding enforcement figures and speed facts below.) In Wellington the regional launch will take place on Monday 4 May at one of the Giant Walk locations.

During the Week Brake will also be demonstrating the devastating consequences of crashes involving children and young people through the launch of Living Memories, a ground-breaking campaign that tells the stories of young lives cut short by preventable road crashes. The project imagines what these would look like today if they had lived. Living Memories is at www.livingmemories.org.nz (website goes live Sunday 3 May).

Across New Zealand more than 700 schools, kindergartens, companies and communities are getting involved in the week by running a Giant Walk or other awareness-raising events to get the message across about the horror of road crashes and the part we can all play in making communities safer.

This is the fourth Road Safety Week New Zealand and the third UN Global Road Safety Week. Figures show that in New Zealand:

  • In 2013, 25 children and young people aged 0-19 were killed or hospitalised following a road crash in the Wellington region [2]
  • Every month almost a classroom of children (23) are hospitalised with serious injuries across NZ from road crashes [3]
  • 72 children aged 0-14 on foot and bicycle were killed or hospitalised from crashes in 2013 [4]
  • Nearly a quarter (23%) of cyclists killed or injured in motor vehicle crashes are aged 10-19 years old [5]

Police enforcement figures also show the number of speeding offences near schools:

  • In 2014, there were over 7,500 officer issued speed notices, and almost 130,000 speed camera notices for speed offences near schools. They accounted for 13% of all speed notices [6]
  • In 2013, speeding was a contributing factor in 74 fatal crashes and 305 serious injury crashes, resulting in 83 deaths and 421 serious injuries [7].
  • The total social cost of crashes involving drivers speeding in 2013 was about $678 million, approximately 22% of the social cost for all injury crashes that year [7]

Members of the public can show their support for Road Safety Week by:

Caroline Perry, Brake's NZ director, said: "When drivers use roads without care for others the consequences can be tragic and horrific - people killed and badly injured, lives ruined forever, because of a moment of inattention, impatience or a bad decision. It's particularly devastating when a child or young person is killed, their future is lost, and their family is left to pick up the pieces. At Brake we witness the suffering that results, through our work supporting people affected by road death and injury. And there are wider consequences if we don't have roads that are safe for kids - families afraid to let their kids walk and cycle, and unable to get out and enjoy their community and live active lifestyles. That's why, instead of making our streets risky places, we're asking all road users to look out for and protect children and young people - that means drivers slowing down outside schools and in communities, and keeping their full attention on driving when at the wheel."

New Zealand's road safety strategy, Safer Journeys, includes safe speeds as one of the four pillars, and Brake is appealing to drivers to slow down outside schools and in communities to help protect children and young people.

Ann Weaver, Director, Safekids Aotearoa says: "It's a global epidemic, and we ask everyone - children, parents, drivers, private industries, policy makers and decision makers to #SaveKidsLives this Road Safety Week. We can do this by signing the UN Declaration for Child Road Safety and taking action.

"While no single measure adequately addresses the vast range of risks to children on the road, the UN declaration highlights ten strategies that are best known - especially when implemented as a package - to keep children safe on the road. That means: controlling speed; stopping drinking and driving; using helmets for bicyclists and motorcyclists; restraining children in vehicles; improving children's ability to see and be seen; enhancing road infrastructure; adapting vehicle design; implementing graduated driver licensing; providing appropriate care for injured children; and supervising children around roads."

Assistant Commissioner of Roads Policing, Dave Cliff, NZ Police says: "Children can be unpredictable, so motorists need to be well prepared to stop safely in and around school zones. This means slowing down and giving yourself enough time and space to stop suddenly if needed. That's why Police this week will be paying particular attention to vehicle speeds and driver behaviour around schools, including the correct use of child restraints."

NZTA's road safety director Ernst Zollner says: "Road Safety Week is a chance for Kiwis to reflect on how the way we drive affects the whole community. Everyone has the right to be safe on the road and we all need to take responsibility for the wellbeing of the people that we share the road with every day."

Road Safety Week NZ Wellington launch event

Road Safety Week is being launched in Wellington at Upper Hutt Primary School. The students will be going on a Giant Walk in their community dressed brightly, to remind drivers in their community to slow down and look out for kids. They'll also be learning about safe places to cross on their walk.

AT: 9.15am, Monday 4 May 2015
LOCATION: Upper Hutt School, Martin Street, Upper Hutt
FILMING/PHOTOS: Students will be walking with banners and placards and dressed in bright colours to remind local drivers to slow down and look out for kids. Assistant Commissioner Road Policing, Dave Cliff, and other representatives from police will also be walking with the children.
INTERVIEWS: Assistant Commissioner Dave Cliff, NZ Police, school students and teachers.

Interviews at other times can be requested by contacting Brake on the details below.

Case study

A number of the bereaved families involved in the Living Memories campaign are available for interview, including:

  • Sharlene and Malcolm Barnett, from Taupo, whose daughter Krystal was killed at the age of 18 in a crash in Upper Hutt.

To arrange interviews with any of our bereaved and injured volunteers, please contact Brake on the details below.

Facts on speed
Driving is the most dangerous thing most of us do on a regular basis: you're operating a potentially dangerous machine in an unpredictable, public environment so it requires full concentration at all times.

Speed is a critical factor in all road crashes and casualties. It is estimated that for every 1mph (2km/h) reduction in average speeds, crash rates fall by an average of 5% [8]. Driver speed was a factor in 29% of fatal crashes and 19% of serious injury crashes in New Zealand from 2011-2013 [9].

See Brake's stopping distances illustration.

Key advice to help #savekidslives

For drivers

  • Slow down in school zones and communities at all times.
  • Passing school buses: either way its 20km/h.
  • Come to a complete stop at intersections and double check for kids.
  • Slow down and double check for kids at pedestrian crossings, particularly in school zones.

For parents

  • Keep children in child restraints until they're 148cm to offer the best protection in a vehicle.
  • Ensure children wear helmets when cycling, scootering and skateboarding.
  • Teach children to stop, look and listen and look for vehicles approaching or turning.
  • Set a good example for your children, whether you're walking, cycling or driving.

Other supporter quotes
ACC said: "ACC supports Brake's Road Safety Week 2015. Road crashes can have a devastating impact on individuals and their families, while injuries and deaths on our roads also have a heavy financial cost to New Zealand. ACC doesn't want you to become a road injury statistic. We hope that by raising awareness and encouraging safe road use, we'll see more people enjoying the journey and arriving at their destination safe and sound."

Lucinda Rees from NZ School Speeds says: "NZ School Speeds is in full support of the Brake Road Safety Week message to Look out for kids. To help make roads safer for children we would urge our Government to consistently slow speeds within school zones to force a change in culture of how people drive around vulnerable children."

Cycling Advocates' Network spokesman Patrick Morgan said: "Kids love to ride bikes. We can all play our part in keeping them safe, by staying focused while driving. That means keeping speeds under control, leaving the phone switched off, and taking extra care at intersections."

Living Streets Aotearoa president Andy Smith said: "Living Streets Aotearoa is also 'Looking out for kids' by campaigning for lower speeds. We should be driving at 30km/h in residential streets. At that speed you are more likely to spot children, and if there is a crash, slower speeds help us survive."

All Black and Auckland Transport's public transport Ambassador, Jerome Kaino is also supporting the Week. He says: "It's Road Safety week and as a father of two, I want to help Auckland Transport spread key messages on how to Look Out For Kids to our whole community so we can all be safe on the road. To parents, please SLOW DOWN around schools zones; you never know what might happen. And to all kids, remember the key rules of STOP, LOOK and LISTEN to cross the road safely. Check out other important safety messages at https://at.govt.nz/roadsafetyweek."

Sponsor quote
Val Graham, marketing & communications manager at QBE says: "At QBE we firmly believe that we have a responsibility to be a good corporate citizen in the communities in which we operate. This is one of the reasons that QBE Insurance in New Zealand is now in its fourth year of support for Brake and Road Safety Week. QBE see the week as a great way to stimulate commitment - both personal and corporate - to road safety, and we are very pleased to continue with this community initiative."

To find out more or take part in Road Safety Week, go to www.roadsafetyweek.org.nz.

To find out more about Living Memories, visit www.livingmemories.org.nz.

For media queries, or to arrange interviews with Brake, volunteers or any supporters, contact Caroline Perry on 021 407 953 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Notes for editors:
Brake
Brake is an international road safety charity. Its New Zealand division promotes road safety and campaigns against the carnage on New Zealand roads. It is also fundraising to improve support for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. To support Brake, go to www.brake.org.nz. Support books for children and adults bereaved in road crashes are available for free to families by contacting Brake on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 021 407 953.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road Safety Week is an annual nationwide event coordinated by Brake. It takes place 4-10 May 2015. The theme of the week is look out for kids. Communities, educators and companies are encouraged to take part. Read more at www.roadsafetyweek.org.nz.

Brake also provides support resources for people bereaved in crashes. A book for children, called Someone has died in a road crash, and one for adults on coping with grief, are available for free from Brake. These can be ordered by calling 021 407 953 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

QBE
QBE Insurance Group is Australasia's largest international general insurance and reinsurance group, and one of the top 20 global insurers and reinsurers worldwide. QBE has been in New Zealand for over 125 years and is a leading business insurer offering a comprehensive range of quality products to cover businesses of all sizes.

Child injury statistics
Child injury statistics in this media release are based on the latest and official figures of the Ministry of Health's national mortality collection (deaths) and national minimum dataset (hospital admissions):

  • Hospitalisation (2009-2013), released every two years
  • Deaths (2007-2011), released every four years.

End notes:
[1] Data from Safekids Aotearoa. Taken from National Mortality Collection (deaths), 2007-2011, and National Minimum Dataset (hospital admissions), 2009-2013, Ministry of Health.
[2] Ministry of Transport statistics, road crashes 2013.
[3] Data from Safekids Aotearoa. Taken from National Mortality Collection (deaths), 2007-2011, and National Minimum Dataset (hospital admissions), 2009-2013, Ministry of Health.
[4] Ministry of Transport statistics, road crashes 2013.
[5] Cyclists: crash fact sheet (2009-2013 crashes), 2014, Ministry of Transport.
[6] NZ Police figures, 2014. Total number of officer issued speed notices near schools: 7,662. Total number of speed camera speed notices near schools: 129,623.
[7] Speed: crash fact sheet, 2014, Ministry of Transport.
[8] Speed, Speed Limits and Accidents, Transport Research Laboratory, 1994
[9] Speed: crash fact sheet, 2014, Ministry of Transport.

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