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Published: 2001-12-10 00:00:00

Passengers are being encouraged to speak up and ask drivers to slow down in a new Waikato regional summer speed campaign.

The campaign, which is also operating in Auckland, was launched on December 13 in the Waikato. It aims to raise awareness of the dangers of open road speeding, especially amongst males in the 15-44 year-old age group.

According to Waikato/ Bay of Plenty LTSA Manager Glenn Bunting, male drivers were represented in 70 percent of speed related crashes in the Waikato during 1996-2000.

“Drivers clearly need to take a greater responsibility for their passengers and other road users if not themselves,” Mr Bunting said.

Using billboards and radio advertising to reinforce the message: “Speak Up to Slow Him Down”, the latest campaign runs over the festive season, which is a time when speed related crash numbers peak in the Waikato Region.

Environment Waikato Councillor David Peart, Chairman of the Regional Land Transport Committee, said he was supportive of the road safety initiative, which has been delivered using a partnership approach between the Regional Council, New Zealand Police, LTSA, ACC and Transit working alongside Territorial Local Authorities.

“Passengers can tend to feel powerless as they depend on not only the drivers skill, but also their good common sense,” Mr Peart said.

“The objective of the recent campaign is to promote passenger power and aims to prompt passengers in to asking drivers to slow down. The ultimate goal is to raise a doubt in the mind of the speeder about their driving”.

Waikato Police Strategic Traffic manager Leo Tooman said that while there had been some good results this year in terms of reducing the Waikato regional road toll, there was still scope for further gains to be made.

“Our current road toll this time last year was 62, and at the same time this year it stands at 37. This has been achieved through high policing visibility combined with community co-operation”.

Mr Tooman said road safety was a community concern and it was only through the ongoing commitment by all members of community that the region would continue to see a continued reduction in the road toll.

Following on from “Operation Increasing” – which aimed to raise awareness of the State Highway patrols and building on the “Are You Part Of The Dying Race” campaign, the latest initiative looks at increasing passenger power.