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Ten-One Community Edition August 05 - Vol 2

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Making our roads safer
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It's all about choice

Early on Wednesday morning, 28 January 2004, a speeding car carrying four teenagers smashed into a pole at traffic lights in Te Irirangi Drive, Manukau, in South Auckland...

It's all about choice

At the wheel was a 15-year-old unlicensed and inexperienced male driver. With him were three male companions under 17. All four teenagers died in the crash. No alcohol or drugs were involved.

Counties/Manukau Pacific Liaison Officer Senior Constable Alf Filipaina describes the crash scene as "the worst I've encountered in my 26 years as a police officer.

"After immediately advising the parents of the tragedy, I strongly felt it was my cultural duty to remain with all four boys at the mortuary, up until they were returned to the custody of their families, some 14 hours later. This is something that will always stay with me," he says.

The tragic event prompted Alf to develop a road show to change the habits, behaviours and attitudes to speed by young drivers.

The road show's key message is 'It's all about choice'. Alf says a number of choices made by those involved contributed to the crash. The young driver's father 'chose' to give his unlicensed son the car keys and the driver 'chose' to drive at almost 140km/h.

The vehicle involved in the crash is taken to local schools and community events, where it's openly displayed in its raw state of mangled steel. Eleven 'story' boards outline how the crash happened and a group of young actors perform role plays that relate to the project's key message.

"The project is having a significant influence on many students at major secondary schools in the Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Northland, Wellington, Waikato, and Eastern Police Districts," says Alf.

"Students get visibly affected by the direct visual impact of the road show, and are now seriously reflecting on their attitudes to speed as a result."

Alf says the road show is a community resource and is available to everybody. It is supported by the road safety coordinators for Manukau City and Papakura, Road Safe Auckland, and ACC.

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