Monday, 10 August 2009 - 11:46am |
National News

Operation Tahi Reduces Road Trauma

2 min read

During Operation Tahi - the intensive five-month road policing operation targeting driver behaviour on State Highway One across the South Island - an estimated 38 fewer fatal and injury crashes occurred than during the same months over the five previous years.

Preliminary results for the period February to June 2009 (benchmarked against crash statistics for the same period between 2004 and 2008, and enforcement notice statistics between 2006 to 2008) show that during the period of Operation Tahi the number of fatal crashes reduced by 2, the number of serious injury crashes by 10 and the number of minor injury crashes by 26.

Estimates also indicate that Operation Tahi enforcement reduced the social cost of crashes by $18.5 million or 22%. The social cost of crashes is a measure of the cost to society of loss of life and life quality, productivity, and medical, legal and property damage costs.

However the social cost of crashes is insignificant when compared to the human misery caused by road trauma, said Senior Sergeant Neville Hyland of the Canterbury Highway Patrol.

The total number of `fatal five' offence notices (excluding alcohol offences) issued on SH1 during the operation was over 40% higher than the average for the same period over the previous three years. The fatal five refers to speed, alcohol, dangerous and careless driving, high-risk driving behaviour and restraints (wearing seatbelts).

While Operation Tahi had a focus on driver behaviour on SH1, the enforcement of fatal five offences anywhere has an impact on overall driver behaviour, said Senior Sergeant Hyland.

"SH1 carries huge volumes of traffic the full length of the South Island, and Operation Tahi provided an opportunity for concentrated enforcement which paid road safety dividends right across the island," said Senior Sergeant Hyland.

"This campaign had an impact that flows onto all aspects of policing and allows us to concentrate on a range of policing enforcement activities. It's our intention to continue with a similar approach to enforcement as that of Operation Tahi, with the aim of achieving a comparable reduction in road trauma," said Senior Sergeant Eric Davy, Tasman Highway Patrol.

Senior Sergeant Steve Larking, of Southern Highway Patrol, said Southern police were disappointed at the number of recidivist drink drivers apprehended during the operation. Ongoing police operations in Southern would continue to target these high risk offenders, he said.

Operation Tahi represented an unprecedented level of co-operation between road policing units, and staff from Tasman, Canterbury and Southern police districts and the Commercial Vehicle Investigation Unit (CVIU). The operation moved through several phases, initially targeting driving behaviour and speed around schools before shifting to focus on speed, alcohol and drugs, careless and dangerous driving, high-risk and disqualified drivers, and those not wearing seat belts.