Police beef up holiday road watch

VICKI WATERHOUSE
Last updated 12:23 01/06/2012

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Extra police staff are being called in to patrol Central District roads during Queen's Birthday Weekend.

There were no fatal crashes on Central District roads during the holiday weekend last year – a trend police are keen to see maintained.

Easter weekend was also the first holiday weekend since records began where there were no fatalities nationwide.

Central District road policing manager Acting Inspector Jeanette Park said the extra staff would ensure the heavy volume of traffic was monitored.

There would also be more checkpoints and breath testing, she said.

"We're expecting it to be busy on Friday and Monday and want people to be conscious of the fact there's a lot of people trying to go on holiday," Ms Park said.

"We would like to achieve what we achieved at Easter, which is no fatalities."

A reduced speed tolerance will again be enforced, meaning police would take action against anyone caught driving more than 4kmh over the speed limit.

The reduced tolerance became a permanent holiday-weekend feature after an 18-year high of 12 deaths at Easter in 2010.

Traffic Alcohol Group boss Senior Sergeant Nick Dobson said he would be out with staff at checkpoints during the weekend.

"With the winter ahead it's important that people enjoy this long weekend and remember the importance of the messages that we continue to give them," he said.

"Speed and alcohol continue to take too many lives on our roads."

Mr Dobson said motorists should get their vehicles and tyres checked. He also stressed the need to be patient and take breaks.

Police were pushing the See Something, Say Something campaign this weekend, which encouraged people to report bad driving behaviour.

"What we want is a crash-free long weekend and every road user out there has their part to play," Mr Dobson said.

Acting national road policing manager Rob Morgan said the public had shown a fatality-free long weekend was possible.

"It is really very simple – drive to the conditions, don't drink and drive and make sure you are wearing your seatbelt," Mr Morgan said.

"We are concerned to find that a number of recent fatalities have involved passengers who were not wearing seatbelts.

"It is a no-brainer – the two seconds that it takes to fasten your seatbelt may just be all it takes to give you a second chance at life."

Palmerston North area commander Inspector Pat Handcock said the reporting of bad or suspicious behaviour also applied to those who were staying in the area during the weekend.

He encouraged residents to report suspicious activity to the police immediately.

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Burglary had declined in Palmerston North during the past few weeks and he hoped to see this continue at the weekend.

"We hope everybody has a very safe and happy break – hopefully they'll come home and their homes and property will be undisturbed," Mr Handcock said.

There had been several arrests of burglary suspects in the past few weeks, he said. People going away should make their homes look occupied and have neighbours keep an eye on their properties.

- Manawatu Standard

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