Road horror as car ad decried

A car smash which left three dead last night in South Canterbury added to a horror Queen's Birthday long weekend road toll.

Police had already issued warnings for extra care on the roads after a person travelling in a four-wheel drive near Whitianga died after ploughing head on into a campervan driven by an overseas tourist which crossed the centreline.

At 4pm yesterday two vehicles collided at an intersection near Rakaia. The three who died all came from one vehicle, with another passenger surviving but hospitalised after being flown out by a rescue helicopter.

In the other vehicle involved the driver had only minor injuries.

After the Whitianga smash, Waikato district road policing manager Inspector Freda Grace had said the tragedy showed it was time to think about "what being fit for the road actually means. What we're talking about is ensuring you are fit and attentive behind the wheel. If you've had a hard day before heading out consider taking a rest first, it could easily save your life."

The crashes come as car manufacturer Nissan has been forced to pull a television ad after it was deemed to promote speeding and dangerous driving.

An Advertising Standards Authority decision said the advertisement showing the Nissan X-Trail speeding through city streets had an "overall tone of speed and dangerous manoeuvrability".

The Complaints Board said the ad had not been prepared with a due sense of social responsibility to consumers and society.

It is the second time Nissan has been ordered to take down its ad - one for the Nissan Pulsar last year was also pulled after being found to glamorise speeding.

One of several complainants said "this TV ad actively promotes irresponsible driving behaviour", and another said they were "disgusted with the dangerous driving shown with high speeds".

The advertisement had a disclaimer: "Professional Driver. Closed course. Do not attempt."

But the board said that was not enough and the overall presentation encouraged a disregard for safety and situations which were unsafe and dangerous.

Nissan said it did not believe the commercial breached the Advertising Standard Codes of Practice.

Road safety campaigner Clive Matthew-Wilson said ads and media showing speeding cars was more likely to encourage people to drive fast, than road safety ads were to encourage reducing speed.

"People are very easy to persuade to do what they want to do anyway."

Matthew-Wilson said it was hypocritical to allow people to buy cars that could go more than 300 kilometres an hour when the speed limit was 100kmh.

"The whole point of having a fast car is to go fast."

While glamorising speeding was not a good look, 80 per cent of NZ road deaths occurred below the speed limit, he said.

Sunday Star Times