The campaign, which coincides with a busy social time in the capital, is promoting a positive message about being safe behind the wheel through branded sweets at checkpoints, coasters and mirror decals at bars and clubs, air freshners in taxis and ride share companies, and P&C heat sensitive stickers in urinals – which reveal the drive safe message when in use.
Each year, more than 400 people continue to be seriously injured or killed on New Zealand roads because of drink-driving. There were 28 serious/fatal crashes and 136 non-injury/minor crashes in Wellington City in the past year, with alcohol being the mitigating factor in all incidents.
Wellington Road Policing Manager Inspector Derek Orchard says of the 377 people who died on our roads last year, approximately 20% were impaired by alcohol. “If you are going to drive, avoid alcohol. It’s not worth your life, or someone else’s.”
Sustainable Transport Coordinator for Wellington City Council, George Booty, says the campaign is the result of collaboration between NZ Police and Wellington City Council.
“The campaign brings a positive message to drive safe and drive sober, indicating the importance of being sober behind the wheel. We are reminding people in all sorts of creative ways to be safe when on the roads, either by being the sober driver themselves or nominating a sober drive in the group.
“Getting creative is always an effective way of getting attention – and we’ve been working closely with the Council’s design team to come up with something that will get the message through to everybody.”
The campaign features a bold graphic message on billboards, online advertisements, social media, at checkpoints, and in bars and clubs around the Wellington City region.
Safety portfolio lead Councillor Jenny Condie has been handing out sweets to drivers who passed breath screening tests at checkpoints – and says while they handed out a lot of sweets, there were too many who still haven’t got the message.
“Out of 1600 drivers tested in one night, there were 58 with alcohol in their system and 15 of them were over the limit – which is far too high a number, especially when we think one is too many.
“There are so many alternatives to driving these days, whether it be public transport, ride share, dial-a-driver, taxis – and there are also a huge range of good choices when it comes to alcohol-free drinks too.”
Wellington District Impairment Prevention Sergeant Laurence Vautier says Police are supporting the campaign by targeting driver behaviour at checkpoints. “This is a fantastic opportunity for Wellington Police and Wellington City Council to work together and prevent harm on our roads and prevent intoxicated drivers choosing to get behind the wheel and drive drunk.”
The campaign resources have been delivered to over 20 licensed premises, there will be more police checkpoints over the weekend and into the New Year, and a 50% discount (from Wellington City Council) with ride share provider Zoomy is on offer too.