Police say achieving a safer Queen's Birthday on the roads is in everyone’s hands this weekend.
Last year, five people were killed and dozens seriously injured in crashes around the country – a tragic departure from the previous year when no-one died. Eleven people also lost their lives during a recent horror weekend on the roads.
“The sad part is that these crashes are preventable,” says National Manager Road Policing, Superintendent Steve Greally.
“While Police will be out in full force this holiday weekend, everyone on the roads has to step up and play their part if we are to see no-one else killed or injured.
“The last thing our staff want to be doing is knocking on the doors of friends and loved ones this weekend to deliver the terrible news that a cherished loved one or best mate has died.”
The official Queen's Birthday weekend period begins at 4pm on Friday 29 May and ends 6am on Tuesday 2 June.
Mr Greally says as with every other holiday weekend, Police will be enforcing a reduced 4km/h speed threshold. This means that anyone exceeding speed limits by more than this should expect to be ticketed.
All drivers stopped should also expect to be breath tested, regardless of the time of day or night, with Police checking that all vehicle occupants, including children, are safely buckled in.
“As with past weekends, Police will be focusing on the high risk driver behaviours that put lives at risk. This includes speeding, drink-driving, not wearing safety belts and being distracted by cellphones.
“While Police and road safety agencies will be doing all they can to help ensure a safe weekend on the roads, we cannot do it alone. Ultimately whether or not anyone is killed or injured is in the hands of each and every person on the roads this weekend making the right choices.
“While it’s inevitable that we all make mistakes, we don’t want to see anyone lose their life or be left permanently scarred because of it – and there’s simple things that we can all do to help make sure that doesn’t happen.
“With the recent wintry cold snap we urge everyone to drive to the conditions, which means reducing your speed and extending your following distance, particularly in the wet and where there is reduced visibility.
“Traffic congestion around the main centres is also likely to be worse as people head away for the break, so think about timing your journey to avoid those peak times, and be prepared to be patient if there are delays.
“Fatigue is another potential killer, so if you’re planning to travel longer distances on unfamiliar roads, please take plenty of rest breaks or look to share the driving so that you stay fresh and reach your destination safely.”
Media contact: Ross Henderson, PNHQ Public Affairs, ph 021 192 2919.
For urgent media queries over the long weekend, contact the Police after hours media pager: ph 026 101 082