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Growth and the arrival of spring make for a busy time on Papakura’s roads, and a range of groups are pushing safety messages over coming months.
Papakura’s roads are busier than ever. The district is growing at a rate of around 1,000 people per year, putting more cars and trucks on the roads than ever before.
Child safety clinics
“With increasing numbers of vehicles out there, it’s more important than ever that people make sure their children are safe when they are in cars,” says Donna Dick, Papakura District Council road safety co-ordinator.
Together with ACC and with the help of Plunket, Safe2Go, the Papakura Police, Safer Seatbelts, the Council will hold another in its series of child seat/restraint safety clinics at Countdown car park in the Papakura Town Centre on October 14. The clinics are an opportunity for parents to have the car seats, seat mountings and child restraints checked for safe operation.
Though Police help direct people to the clinic, their presence is part of the educational focus of the day. No traffic infringement tickets are issued to people who bring their vehicles in to be checked.
Enforcement on roads in the district continues with the Police running random child seat restraint checkpoints.
Papakura is also evaluating potential speed limit changes around schools, aiming to help keep children safe in these areas. The move to lower speeds around schools follows national initiatives to reduce injuries and fatalities in these areas.
A road safety awareness promotion will be staged in the Papakura Town Centre during the Papakura Spring carnival. Road safety staff are revealing no details about the event except that it will pick up on national road safety themes current in the media and will target driver awareness of safety issues at intersections.
A high number of Papakura’s annual crashes, injuries and traffic fatalities occur at intersections.
Speed Kills campaign
The joint speed awareness campaign run by Papakura and Franklin district recently has been a hit with the community in each district. The campaign featured striking black and red Speed Kills billboards and supported the message with free decks of playing cards for members of the public.
In Papakura, the cards have been available through Vehicle Testing New Zealand and Barry Dickey Motors in Takanini, where they have been handed out to motorists renewing their warrants of fitness.
Safe with Age
A series of workshops that help older drivers stay in tune with the demands of today’s driving environment, Safe with Age courses are held at the Old Central School building in central Papakura. Organised by Age Concern Papakura, the courses are free and theory based. Courses run from 9.30 am to 2.30 pm with morning tea and provided and attendees asked to bring their own lunch. The next one will be held on Tuesday 30th September and a following one will be held on 12th December. You need to register for these courses the contact number is (09) 279-4331 extension 800.
Safe with Age are also looking for a volunteer facilitator for the Papakura area. More information is available from Safe with Age on (09) 279-4331.
Drink-drive result disappoints
Drink-driving is a particular concern for Counties-Manukau Police and road safety staff at Papakura District Council. Every year, the Council runs a drink-drive awareness campaign in the months leading up to Christmas, aiming to make the roads a safe place during the busy summer social season.
This year, Counties Manukau Police have stepped up their mid-winter checkpoint activity. Manukau and Papakura have been targeted in an attempt to reduce drink-drive offending. Though drink-drive awareness is at an all-time high, several of those stopped in the latest checkpoint had breath alcohol levels that have disappointed Police and road safety staff.
The most recent checkpoint on Great South Road stopped and breath-tested 938 drivers. Of those 33 were over the limit and were charged. Police say the very high levels of breath and blood alcohol were of great concern.
One female driver stopped blew 1126 micrograms (the adult limit is 400). She worked a night shift at a local business and had been drinking with workmates after her shift ended.
Another driver entered the checkpoint at around 120 km/h – in a 50 km/h area – and locked up his brakes to stop, narrowly missing Police and their vehicles in the process. The car was found to have only one brake functioning, and the driver was significantly over the limit. He refused to be breath or blood tested and was arrested at the scene and has been charged with dangerous driving as well as his alcohol offence. Police said the same person had been stopped for alcohol offences in Waiuku last month.
Donna Dick says the number of drivers found to be over the limit and the high levels recorded at this checkpoint are disturbing.
“Driving drunk is unacceptable. Repeat drink-driving is absolutely unacceptable. It puts the driver at risk, puts their passengers at risk and endangers other road users. It’s time for people to take responsibility for their actions and put a stop to this behaviour everyone in the community has a part to play: if you know a drink-driver, if you see a family member or friend putting themselves and others at risk, put a stop to it.”
Police and Council road safety efforts will continue through coming months, blending awareness and education with enforcement.
“It’s not as if people haven’t seen or heard the messages, so what makes it okay after a few drinks…or a few more? Drink-driving has had huge exposure on television and in print media, and we continue to push our safety messages backed up by Police enforcement. Our message is: “Stop Drinking and Driving”.