Grim message in new road safety ad

23:41, Jan 06 2014

The road is no place for people to learn from mistakes is the grim message from the latest road safety advertisement urging drivers to slow down to save lives.

"Mistakes" is the latest NZ Transport Agency advertisement targeting speeding drivers. It aims to reduce deaths and injuries on the road.

The new campaign targeted competent drivers who drove regularly and put plenty of kilometres on the car, NZTA national media manager Andrew Knackstedt said.

"These people drive 'comfortably' fast; typically a bit faster than the posted speed limit or other traffic,'' Knackstedt said.

"But they don't consider it to be wrong or anti-social because it's not really 'speeding' in their minds.

"They feel competent and in control of their vehicle."

Even people who recognised the risk associated with driving at speed did not always put their beliefs into practice when they were behind the wheel, Knackstedt said.

"Speed is still a contributing factor in 20 per cent of all fatal and serious injury crashes on New Zealand roads.

"Their speed may be over the limit but to them it is minimal, eg 107kmh in a 100 kmh area."

The message from past road safety campaigns that the faster you went, the bigger the mess, still rang true, Knackstedt said.

"The higher your speed, the less opportunity you have to react to a mistake and recover, and this is the key message for this campaign."

The campaign aimed to reframe the way people looked at their speed when driving, Knackstedt said.

While someone might be a good driver, human beings, including other drivers, were prone to making mistakes.

"In many aspects of life we can learn from our mistakes; but not when driving – the road is an exception.

"Even the smallest of mistakes on the road can cost us our life, or take someone else's."

The speed a person chose to drive at needed to leave room for any potential error – whether it was theirs or someone else's, Knackstedt said.

"We are aiming to create a safe system for travelling in New Zealand, where no-one should pay for a mistake with their life."

The initial reaction to the advertisement, which is expected to run for two years, had been "very positive". The ad had been shared widely on social media sites, Knackstedt said.