Reduction in our Road Toll

Dying because someone drunk too much then got in their car, is in my opinion, one of the stupidest, most senseless ways to go. New Zealand, however, has a long spanning history of ‘she’ll be right’, which has resulted in us (I believe) having one of the highest drink-driving accident rates in the world.

I think we also have won awards for the anti-drink driving campaign that has been raging since 1987 (date is according to lance). The ads are sometimes so shocking that the likes of me are too scared to even drive on Friday/Saturday nights now.

Anyway so, apparently our road toll has been declining dramatically over the years, which is a sign that we have really changed our attitude as a country (and as someone who was recently involved in some social change marketing, I can tell you, that’s a really big deal).

However there is still a long way to go.

I was and am horrified at myself, after witnessing a prime example over the holidays. We were at a country pub, and a driver pulled up, one guy stumbled out of the car to get drinks and the driver remained behind the wheel. It was only when he opened his mouth to speak and could only deliver a mumbled monologue that was barely coherent, that we all realised he was well, well over his legal limit. He drove off.

And we did nothing.

We even went as far as discussing calling the police, but we never did. Which makes me think (aside from that I am a terrible person), that there is a further step we need to take here.

New Zealander’s are big on not getting all up in anyone else’s businesses. Social norms are that it’s bad to ‘dob’ people in – even if there is a risk of serious injury otherwise. It’ll be interesting how we continue to tackle that one. I for one, will never not do anything again.

But to end on a good note. Good job New Zealand. We’re improving. Maybe one day we wont have a half a page of the newspaper dedicated to drink driving convictions for one month.

2 thoughts on “Reduction in our Road Toll”

  1. That’s an interesting point about New Zealander’s not wanting to mix up with other people’s business. I was driving back from Akoroa to Christchurch last weekend and in a trail of about 5 slooowly moving cars up the winding hill.

    A car came up behind us and overtook us very dangerously on a corner, and proceeded to jumpfrog dangerously past the other cars.

    There was a bit of a discussion about whether we should report the driving to the police (apparently you can call *555 to report dangerous driving). Eventually we decided we should, but got a message on *555 that the service was taking a break or something :-(

    To be honest, I’m not really sure what the point of *555 is – I’ve used it in the past to let people know when traffic lights are out of action, but didn’t know you could use it for bad driving.

    A little Googling and I found this form on the NZ Police website to alert of bad drivers: https://police.govt.nz/service/road/roadwatch.html

    But it doesn’t really explain what the benefit or the result of doing this would be.

  2. Ah huh! I actually used that once when there was some weirdo in a van literally trying to ram our car off the motorway while swearing and frantically making awful motions at us.

    The police were very helpful and got all the details and promised to follow it up. One thing I’ve learned is that the emergency services never get annoyed with over dramatics – they would rather have the choice to follow it up or not.

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