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Seeing red on the highway

Last updated 05:00 28/05/2014
Richard Middleton
Jarred Williamson

HIGH VISIBILITY: Inspector Richard Middleton, who is retiring after 33 years service, with the new red highway patrol car will be out in force this Queen’s Birthday Weekend.

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Police will be even more visible this Queen's Birthday Weekend with a bright red addition to the highway patrol fleet.

The new car is one of several red and orange variants being rolled out across the country.

Auckland-based Counties Manukau police road policing manager Inspector Neil Fisher says the colour scheme has got the community's attention.

"There's been a lot of conversation on social media and people have starting talking about road safety," he says.

"We can start using that as a way to talk about watching your speed, wearing seatbelts and staying away from drinking and driving."

Fisher says the long weekend will be a high-risk, busy period on the road.

"We have lots of people coming through the district on our roads as they head north or south," he says.

Fisher says a main focus for police is reducing driver distractions, including cellphones that stop them concentrating ont he road in front.

"We encourage people to have fun, but just make sure you're making good choices."

Figures from 2013 show that 11 per cent of crashes were caused by distractions that directly contributed to 21 road deaths.

Police will be monitoring the impact the red Commodore will have on driver behaviour, Fisher says.

The car will be concentrated on state highways and dangerous rural roads but people should expect police "anywhere, anytime".

District prevention manager Inspector Richard Middleton says the new cars are a big improvement from when he joined the police 33 years ago.

"Back then we had bench seats in the car, a column shift and usually no sirens."

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- Eastern Courier

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