Communities across New Zealand 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 a national launch on Monday 16 May in Wellington, Brake and other agencies will be making their own pledges to be a #roadsafetyhero, encouraging staff from local businesses and the general public to make pledges, and running road safety activities. Launch activities are also taking place in Auckland and Christchurch. (See details of the national launch below and for all other launch details contact Brake.)
A key focus of Road Safety Week is speed. In Wellington, the council are currently considering extending the 30km/h speed limit to more areas of the city centre. At the national launch 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?”
All Black and Auckland Transport’s public transport Ambassador, Jerome Kaino is also supporting the Week. He says: “Hi Jerome Kaino here. This week is Road Safety Week and I want you all to be a road safety hero and to drive extra carefully, especially around schools. Keeping our kids safe on roads comes down to you, as drivers, to take extra care.”
Filming, photo and interview opportunities
Details of the national launch in Wellington are below. For details of other activities around the country, contact Brake on the details given below.
Road Safety Week is being launched nationally in Wellington with organisations making #roadsafetyhero pledges and demonstrations of stopping distances. The week will be launched by Brake, the emergency services, and other organisations.
TIME: 9.30am, Monday 16 May 2016
LOCATION: Queen’s Wharf Square, Jervois Quay, Wellington. Meet at the square at 9.30am to film/photograph the activities.
FILMING/PHOTOS: Brake, NZ Fire Service, NZ Police, Wellington Free Ambulance, Cycling Action Network and others will be making #roadsafetyhero pledges and calling on everyone to be a #roadsafetyhero. Staff from local companies and the general public are also invited to make their own pledges. Brake will be measuring out stopping distances at different speeds and explaining why 30km/h limits are important in urban areas. Z Energy will be demonstrating their new app that customers are trialling which helps drivers avoid speeding. Emergency services will be demonstrating some of their vehicles and equipment. Beaurepaires will be showing the importance of checking your tyres regularly. There will be a photocall involving emergency services and other agencies.
INTERVIEWS: Brake’s NZ director Caroline Perry; Brake volunteer Abigail Ball; NZ Police national road policing manager, Supt Steve Greally; NZ Fire spokesperson Brendan Nally; Cycling Action Network spokesperson Patrick Morgan.
Others attending the launch include QBE Insurance (Road Safety Week sponsors), Z Energy, Thrifty (sponsors of the Road Safety Week videos) and Cycle Aware Wellington.
Please note interviews can also be arranged with Brake and others for 6am-9am Monday morning in Wellington or over the phone, or following the launch from 11.30am. 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.