Safety officer urges drivers not to be complacent

DEENA COSTER
Last updated 05:00 05/05/2014
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As winter approaches, a Taranaki road safety officer is urging drivers to be vigilant and stick to the rules.

Road Safety Taranaki co-ordinator Marion Webby said although driving habits in the province had improved, people should not be complacent while on the road.

"With the change in seasons and the finish of daylight saving, people need to take more care on the road due to wet, icy and dark conditions," she said.

Webby said people needed to watch their speed and make sure their vehicles were roadworthy.

And according to recent police driver offence statistics for the region it could be timely advice.

About $2.9 million worth of tickets were issued by police to speeding Taranaki drivers over the past five years.

A similar amount of fines were given out to people snapped by speed cameras.

The number of people driving through red lights was also an issue, Webby said.

Last year, 172 tickets were issued in Taranaki for people who ran a red light, which amounted to $83,100 in fines.

"Drivers accelerating through amber and red lights because they cannot wait between two and four minutes for a green light are deliberately choosing to put other road users at risk of serious injury," Webby said.

Another concern for the safety advocate was the people who still refused to wear a seatbelt when driving.

In the past five years, 8249 people in Taranaki were fined for not wearing a safety belt, which resulted in fines of $436,650 being doled out.

These figures relate to all seatbelts, including the changes to child restraints introduced in November last year.

"In the last two weeks, people have been unnecessarily killed on our roads because they were not wearing seatbelts.

"It takes less than two seconds to remind someone to put one on and less than 10 seconds to click it in place," Webby said.

Senior Sergeant Mike Hannah, of Hawera, said people's continued use of their mobile phone when they were driving needed to change.

"There is still far too many people talking on their cell phones," he said.

Hannah said drivers also needed to be aware of other drivers on the road.

"And make allowances that people will do random stuff and you've got to be aware of it and react to it," he said.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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