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This week is Road Safety Week.

It comes during a deeply emotional time for our region as we mourn the unnecessary loss of 16 people on our roads in just 34 days.

Conversations about road safety are close to home at the moment.   On Sunday I attended a gathering in Tokoroa to remember those taken and stand with the community in saying with one voice: “no more”.

The clear message from our community is that we need to do more than talk. We need to reflect on how we can all do better as road safety is all our responsibility.

We should be looking out for ourselves, our whānau and those in our community who share in the use of our roads. It requires an effort of individual and government action, as we all share in the aftermath when road safety fails.

While distracted or tired driving are big contributors to accidents as is failing to drive to the conditions, or the correct speed, the Government has a huge role to play too.

Improving road safety also requires improving the quality of our roads and making sure that adequate inspection systems and processes are in place to ensure safer vehicles. 

Our community has said that they expect the Government to act to improve our roads, in particular our State Highway 1.

I’ve been contacted by constituents frustrated with what they have called “sub-standard” road conditions and the “endless list” of fatalities between Cambridge and Taupo.

The 170km stretch of SH1 running through the Taupo electorate is New Zealand’s main arterial route, and it’s simply not up to scratch.  This isn’t a new issue and for as long as I’ve been MP for Taupo, I’ve been advocating for better quality roading in our region.

Road fatalities have been blight on our community for a long time. We are constantly reminded of our dangerous and treacherous roads and special mention needs to be made of the stretch from Taupo to Turangi.

As recent as last year, we needed to advocate for keeping our rescue ambulance base in Taupo due to the high number of crashes in the region.

I intend stepping up my efforts and will write to the Minister of Transport asking for the Government’s current plans and additional improvements for this highway in light of the recent extreme number of deaths in the area.

For Road Safety Week, a timely reminder of Brake Aotearoa advice:

  • Slow – stick to the limits and adjust to the winter conditions
  • Sober – don’t drink and drive
  • Secure – make sure everyone in the vehicle is belted up
  • Silent – never make or take calls or text when driving
  • Sharp – take regular breaks and don’t drive tired

To find out more about Road Safety Week please visit brake.org.nz

Media contact – Claudia Holgate 021 892 374

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