Community responsible for rising road toll

Rodney police are fed up with repeating the same old road safety messages, while the road toll continues to rise. From left, Snr Sgt Jason Homan, Acting Sgt Rosa Wallace and Rodney area commander, Inspector Bruce O’Brien at a local breathalyser checkpoint.

As the number of deaths and serious injuries from road crashes in the region continues to rise, Police say the community needs to take responsibility.

In the Waitemata District, which encompasses Rodney, the Hibiscus Coast, North Shore and West Auckland, eleven people were killed on the roads in the first four months of this year – four more than at the same time last year.

Eight of those deaths occurred in the Hibiscus Coast/Rodney areas, with Dairy Flat Highway a particular trouble spot.

Rodney area commander, Inspector Bruce O’Brien says this is a community problem. “The majority of people killed in crashes in Rodney and the Coast are from this area and those deaths were all very preventable,” he says. “We can’t police our way out of it. All drivers make mistakes, but basics like not drinking and driving are still causing deaths.”

“Unfortunately there is an attitude on the Coast and wider Rodney where people think drinking and driving is acceptable if you’re not going very far. We see this happening in the daytime – not only at night. We have even seen cases of parents picking their children up from school while intoxicated.”

At a Police checkpoint set up at 10am on Vipond Road in Stanmore Bay, early this month, one driver was charged with driving with excess breath alcohol. Within the first 25 cars stopped, four were ordered off the road due to defects and two drivers were issued with speeding tickets.

This month Police are a lot more visible, with enforcement stepping up, including at checkpoints. They are taking part in a national road policing campaign called ‘See something – Do something’. It focuses on areas such as wearing restraints, not driving while impaired by alcohol/drugs or tiredness, driving to the conditions, reducing speed, and no use of cellphones or other distractions while at the wheel.

Inspector O’Brien says it’s important to note that every road death or serious injury affects the wider community as well as immediate family and friends. This includes the emergency services who attend the scene and the Police who have to knock on someone’s door and bring them devastating news.

“It’s absolutely tragic, the amount of families that have been left devastated by these preventable crashes,” Inspector O’Brien says. “Reducing the trauma on our roads needs a community wide approach, everyone needs to play their part. It starts with individuals making the right decisions before they start drinking about how to get home safely, hosts taking responsibility, friends looking after each other and not letting their mates drive intoxicated. There also needs to be a change in mindset about not speeding. The excuse “I was only a few kilometres over the speed limit” needs to stop. Those few kilometres may be the difference between being able to stop in time, or hitting a child who runs out onto the road, or colliding with another driver who makes a bad decision. There are also no excuses for not wearing your seatbelt – almost a third of people who die in crashes are not restrained and that includes children.”

“It is immensely frustrating that some of these messages, which are not new, are still not getting through, resulting in more deaths on our roads.”

Road fatalities Waitemata District: 2016 – 17 • 2017 – 27 • 2018 – 11 (to the end of April)


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