It is with sadness that I can announce a photo credit in the New Zealand Herald.
It would be nice if it were in better circumstances, but my photo accompanies the story of the death of a motorbike rider on Mitimiti Beach. Because beaches are classed as roads in New Zealand, that is one more death attributed to Northland’s road toll, which now stands at 20 for the year so far, and seems to be getting worse nationally, rather than better, as the years go by.
An article from Radio NZ states:
“The toll for 2016 is 326, seven more than the previous year and 30 more than the year before that.
A quarter of last year’s fatal crashes involved drivers going too fast for the conditions.
Drugs and alcohol were factors in 40 percent of fatal crashes, while 39 percent of drivers and 42 percent of passengers killed were not wearing seatbelts.
The duty minister, Michael Woodhouse, said the increase over the past three years was disappointing.
“It does relate to the number of cars that are on the road, and the distances that we’re travelling, and that has certainly increased over the last couple of years.
“What is disappointing is that the causes of those fatal crashes haven’t changed.””
The fact that so many of the fatalities weren’t wearing a seatbelt (42%) when a seatbelt could have saved their life is worrying. Apparently, in a crash at 30mph, if you are unrestrained, your body will hit anything in front of you, including another passenger or driver, with a force of between 30 and 60 times your own body weight. It’s important that every single person who gets in your car remembers to buckle up.
Here are some tips on how to remember that simple life-saving action:
- Listen- Most cars signal the driver and passengers to buckle up when the key is put into the ignition.
- Leave yourself a note- A written reminder on the dashboard or even a ribbon tied to the steering wheel works.
- Repetition– Make a habit not to release the emergency brake of your vehicle until your seat belt is buckled and others the vehicle do the same.
- Make a game of buckling up- Whoever snaps in first wins. This can work especially well with kids.
Absolutely none of this would have helped the unfortunate motorbike rider from Mitimiti, but it may help others.