Wednesday, 9 December 2009 - 7:07am |

On the 5th day of Christmas . . . clunk click for every trip

3 min read

Police in Central District want you to reach your destination safely this Christmas and one way to help ensure your safety is to wear your seatbelt.

There have already been 53 fatal crashes in the District this year, that's 13 more than the whole of 2008. In many of those cases drivers or passengers were not wearing seatbelts and may well have been alive today if they were.

Road Policing Manager Inspector Neil Wynne said: "We know that seatbelts save lives. It is statistically proven throughout the world over many years that they save lives - so wear them.

"All too regularly we come across vehicles where the occupants aren't restrained and it is frightening that in a lot of cases it is young children. Not only does that pose the question as to who is caring for their safety but they will grow up to think that it is OK when it isn't."

The rules
• The driver of a vehicle has a responsibility to ensure that all passengers are wearing seatbelts and the driver is liable for a $150 fine if one of their passengers is not restrained.
• The passenger in a vehicle is also personally liable for a fine of $150 if they are aged 15 years or over.
• Children under the age of 5 have to be in an approved child restraint that is appropriate for their age and size, or the driver faces a $150 fine.
• A vehicle seatbelt is not an approved child restraint. Approved child restraints include baby capsules for young babies, car seats for toddlers and pre-school children, booster seats for pre-school and school-aged children and child safety harnesses (used with or without a booster seat) for pre-school and school-aged children
• Children aged between 5 and 7 must use a child restraint if available. If not available the child must use a safety belt. If there is no safety belt available the child must be in the back seat.
• Children aged between 8 and 14 must use safety belts if available. If no safety belt is available the child must be in the back seat.
• Never put an adult and a child together in the same seatbelt.

Inspector Wynne added: "it is not sufficient with children to put an adult seatbelt on them and assume that you've done your job and they are safe. If the child is too small and the seatbelt is cutting across the side or their face or throat, logic should tell you that this could cause a serious injury in a crash. The belt should cross the shoulder and breast bone when they are sitting upright in the seat."

Taking a trip?
• Have your car serviced or at least do some basic maintenance checks - oil, water, wiper blades and tyres. Most tyre companies will provide pressure checks, top-us and puncture repairs for free.
• Map out your route.
• Check the weather and anticipated road conditions.
• Have a full tank of fuel and on a long trip work out in advance where you intend to re-fuel. Remember not all service stations are open 24hrs.
• Don't just re-fuel your vehicle. Take regular rest breaks. New Zealand has a great cafe coffee culture so make the most of it. Keep bottled water in the vehicle to ensure you stay hydrated.
• Make sure there is plenty to keep children occupied. Bored and restless children are a distraction and can stress a driver.
• Keep an emergency pack to hand with water, snacks, warm clothing and a first aid kit in case or a breakdown. If you have a mobile phone make sure it is fully charged for an emergency but remember it is now against the law to use it while driving.

Useful links

This advice forms part of the 12 Crime of Christmas campaign by Central District Police who wish you a very merry and safe Christmas and New Year.

Media enquiries should be referred to Communications Manager Kim Perks on 06 351 2546 or 027 234 8256.