Canterbury police will be paying particular attention to
drivers in rural areas over the summer in a bid to prevent
Canterbury's road policing manager, Inspector Al Stewart,
said staff would be dedicated to rural areas enforcing laws
around drink-driving, the wearing of seat belts and speed.
''Rural communities are very good at looking after each other
in every respect other than driving,'' he said.
Eight people died on Canterbury roads last month, the
majority on rural roads.
''We will certainly be looking at other areas as well, but we
will be getting into small rural communities. Rural people
die on rural roads,'' Insp Stewart said.
''Many crashes are drivers making basic mistakes. Small
mistakes behind the wheel can have significant
Road safety co-ordinators throughout Canterbury are also
joining forces to push messages home to rural communities.
They are using humour to get across the messages of driving
while sober and planning ahead. Last year's popular campaign,
which featured a horse and its rider being led home by a dog,
has been expanded.
The promotional campaign encourages drivers to think about
having a sober driver, using the courtesy van, sharing the
designated-driver duties or sleeping over so that people
avoid driving when drunk.
As part of the campaign, posters, coasters, stickers, bar
mats and pens will be distributed to licensed premises
throughout the Waimate, Timaru, Mackenzie, Ashburton, Selwyn,
Waimakariri and Hurunui Districts.
''Many people believe drivers who have been drinking have a
lower chance of being stopped by police when they drive on
rural back roads and, in some cases, people think they can
get away with drink-driving in rural areas,'' Selwyn District
road safety co-ordinator Ngaire Tinning said.
''Drink-driving is never acceptable. In many cases, when
drivers are affected by alcohol, they tend to drive faster
and fail to wear seat belts,'' she said.
''This mix often results in a tragedy.''
The campaign was launched recently in Methven with the
arrival of Noel Stanger and his horse, Ammo, and Sue Newton
and her dog, Oscar.
The Ashburton community alcohol action project team has been
dreaming up campaigns for 21 years, combining humour and fun
with the same serious messages - be a sober driver and plan
They have thrown cow pats and gumboots, hunted bears, been
dancing party animals, gone to war, looked after endangered
species and launched a millennium pickled bug but the message
has remained the same.
Ashburton Community Alcohol and Drug Service general manager
Chris Clark has been involved in the campaigns since the
''Even though we have had fun over the years, the messages
behind these campaigns haven't changed - drive sober and plan
ahead,'' she said.
''The reason behind drink-drive campaigns is simple: to
ensure the safety of our community members, family and
friends,'' she observed.
By Maureen Bishop.