Schools, companies and communities across Canterbury will be urging drivers to be a #roadsafetyhero and play their part in making roads safer as part of Road Safety Week 2016 (16-22 May), to help prevent needless deaths and injuries on our roads.
Last year 319 people were killed on NZ roads with on average six families every week receiving the devastating news that a loved one has been killed in a crash .
To mark the fifth Road Safety Week New Zealand, Brake, the road safety charity, along with sponsors QBE Insurance and supporters NZ Police, NZ Fire Service, Wellington Free Ambulance, St John and other road safety agencies, are calling on everyone to be a #roadsafetyhero.
The campaign urges everyone to make simple commitments to help make our communities safer and protect all road users, because we all have a part to play in road safety. Drivers in particular are being asked to be a #roadsafetyhero by pledging to drive:
• Slow – within speed limits and slowing down further around schools and homes
• Sober – with zero alcohol and drugs in your system
• Silent – by switching your phone off or putting it out of reach and minimising other distractions
• Sharp – by being alert, not stressed tired or ill, and having regular eyesight tests
• Secure – wearing a seatbelt and ensuring others do the same, on every trip, and keeping children in child restraints until they’re 148cm tall
• Sustainable – leave the car at home when you can and walk, cycle or use public transport instead.
Make the Pledge online at www.brake.org.nz/pledge.
At launches around the country on Monday 16 May, Brake and other organisations will be calling on everyone to pledge to be a #roadsafetyhero, and making their own pledges. A walk and bike day is taking place at a playcentre in Christchurch to launch the week in this region. Children and staff will be reminding drivers to be a #roadsafetyhero and slow down in their community, and will be learning about road safety (see details below).
A key focus of Road Safety Week is speed. At the national launch in Wellington, Brake will be demonstrating the difference 30km/h makes to stopping distances and why this is so important in urban areas. At 30km/h a pedestrian has a 90% chance of surviving if involved in a crash, at 45km/h they have a very significant one in five chance of being killed, and at 55km/h that rises to a one in three chance. 
Figures show that:
• In 2014, speed was a contributing factor in 78 fatal crashes and 357 serious injury crashes, resulting in 84 deaths and 455 serious injuries.
• The total social cost of crashes involving drivers speeding in 2014 was about $740 million, approximately 23% of the social cost for all injury crashes that year 
As part of Road Safety Week, Brake is releasing a series of videos showing people being a #roadsafetyhero, thanks to support from Thrifty Car Rental.
Brake is encouraging others to get involved and show how they are a #roadsafetyhero by making their own pledge. Go to www.roadsafetyweek.org.nz, download the #roadsafetyhero signboard, write your message and post a photo of it, or a video of you being a #roadsafetyhero, on social media.
Across New Zealand more than 750 schools, kindergartens, companies and communities are getting involved in the week and running awareness-raising events to get the #roadsafetyhero and other road safety messages across.
Caroline Perry, Brake’s NZ director, said: "We’ve all heard the message that everyone has a part to play in road safety, but there are still drivers who use roads without care for others and the consequences can be tragic and horrific. People killed and badly injured, lives ruined forever, all because of a moment of inattention, impatience or a bad decision. At Brake we witness the suffering that results, through our work supporting people affected by road death and injury.
"That’s why this Road Safety Week we’re calling on everyone to show how they can be a #roadsafetyhero for their family, their community, and everyone they share the road with. Remembering simple messages like slowing down around schools and homes, always wearing a seat belt and keeping your full attention on the road helps to keep you and others safe.”
National road policing manager, Steve Greally, NZ Police says: “Road Safety Week is a great opportunity for all drivers to reflect on their driving, and assess whether they are taking all the steps humanly possible to stay safe on our roads. What is incredibly sad and frustrating for police is attending crashes where simple road safety rules have not been followed.
“Police and our road safety partners work hard to reduce death and serious injuries on our roads, but we can’t do it alone. So please take a moment to reflect on your own driving and ask yourself are you doing everything in your power to reduce your road safety risk?”
Filming, photo and interview opportunities
Media are invited to attend an activity in Christchurch which will launch Road Safety Week in the region.
Shirley First Learners
Road Safety Week is being launched at Shirley First Learners with a Giant Walk, reminding drivers to slow down in the local community, a bike check and safety talk.
TIME: 10.00am, Monday 16 May 2016
LOCATION: Shirley First Learners, 101 Slater Street, Christchurch
FILMING/PHOTOS: Children from the centre will be taking part in walk, a bike check activity, and a safety talk.
Robyn Ramirez, supervisor at Shirley First Learners said: “Our children are precious and our communities need to remember that they are young, inexperienced and make mistakes, so they need adults to be road safety heroes and help to protect them. This Road Safety Week we’re teaching our children about road safety, but also reminding our community to slow down around children and help keep them safe.”
To arrange attendance at this event please contact Brake on the details below.
Please note interviews can also be arranged with Brake and others for Monday (note these organisations will not be at this launch in Christchurch). Pre-recorded interviews may also be available at other times – contact Brake to organise.
Members of the public can show their support for Road Safety Week by:
- using our #roadsafetyhero signboard to write a message of support, take a selfie and send it to Brake via Twitter (@Brakenewzealand) and www.facebook.com/brakenewzealand;
- promoting on social media the hashtags, #RoadSafetyWeekNZ and #roadsafetyhero;
- going to www.roadsafetyweek.org.nz to make the Brake Pledge to use roads safely and find out how they can support Brake and Road Safety Week.
We have bereaved and injured families and people who have been nominated as a #roadsafetyhero available for interview during the week. To arrange interviews, please contact Brake on the details below.
Abigail suffered injuries in a head-on crash in Wellington, however her injuries would have been far worse, and potentially fatal had she not been wearing a seatbelt. Abigail is now promoting the seatbelt message to others, highlighting the importance of wearing a seatbelt on every journey, no matter how short.
Sharlene and Malcolm Barnett
Their daughter Krystal Bennett was killed at the age of 18 in a crash in Upper Hutt. Following Krystal’s death, Malcolm and Sharlene successfully campaigned for a median barrier to be installed along the length of road where Krystal was hit head-on by another car, to prevent the same thing from happening to another family. Malcolm and Sharlene are also part of the Living Memories campaign launched at last year’s Road Safety Week – www.livingmemories.org.nz.
Other families are available to speak to around the country.
Other supporter quotes
Paul Baxter, national commander and chief executive of NZ Fire Service said: "Our crews see first-hand the impact a split-second decision can have on families’ lives. Last year firefighters attended 4,815 motor vehicle crashes. The sad reality is many of these could have been avoided if drivers weren’t speeding, distracted by cell phones or driving under the influence.
"This Road Safety Week we’re calling on New Zealand drivers to cut out these bad habits, so we don’t have to cut them out of cars.”
Wellington Free Ambulance paramedic, Nigel Watson said: “A lot of the crashes we go to are preventable. Please drive carefully; a simple mistake can change a life forever…I want you to see your family for dinner.”
Norma Lane, director of clinical operations at St John said: "St John supports Road Safety Week New Zealand. We hope every motorist will continue to be a #roadsafetyhero by remembering important road safety messages, performing first aid at incidents, wearing seatbelts and eliminating driver distractions."
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 fifth year of support for Brake and Road Safety Week. QBE sees 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.
 Ministry of Transport, crash statistics 2015.
 Impact Speed and a Pedestrian’s Risk of Severe Injury or Death, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 2011
 Speed: crash fact sheet, 2015, Ministry of Transport.