Safer roads together

Safer roads together

One death is too many. The number of fatalities on our roads this year has been far too high.

Police in Southern District are part of a new programme aimed at getting people to talk about what they can do to prevent death and serious injury on the roads.

Any number is too many brings together first responders – Police, St John and Fire and Emergency Southland – with the Southern Road Safety Influencing Group to build public understanding of road and driving risks.

The hope is it will result in safer choices every time someone gets in their car, says Southland Road Policing Manager Senior Sergeant Jon Bisset.

“The number of deaths on our roads has been increasing and it’s not OK,” says Jon. “At Police, we believe one death is too many. We also believe road death and serious injury can be prevented.

“But clearly something isn’t working. So we want to have conversations together as a community, to figure out how we all experience our local roads and what we know about them, and about how we can influence that risk through our own behaviour.”

Any Number is too many is a programme by the Southern Road Safety Influencing Group to start these conversations, and remind people that deaths on our roads aren’t just numbers – they’re people’s families and friends.

The Southern Road Safety Influencing Group is made up of all the regional and local authorities in Southland and Otago, representatives from government agencies (e.g. NZ Transport Agency, ACC) as well as major employers such as Fonterra and other significant partners representing the transport sector.

“Every death has a huge impact on our community. It’s a tragedy for everybody whose life that person touched,” says Jon.

“I’ve had to give devastating news to families. I’ve had to knock on people’s doors and tell them their son, husband or daughter won’t be coming home again, ever.

“It’s heartbreaking. The message I want to see get through is that road safety is everybody’s responsibility.

“Police are committed to reducing death and injury on our roads and we work alongside our road safety partners to do this. But we can’t do it alone - we need everyone’s help to keep our roads safe.

“If everyone took personal responsibility that would be the first step to getting the number of deaths on our roads down to zero.

“One simple action can save a life - like putting the phone away, or putting your seat belt on.”

For more information visit the website anynumberistoomany.org or follow the programme on Facebook.

There is also a video featuring Senior Constable Jane Whitmore, of Balclutha, talking about her experiences – watch it here.

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