Road safety idea worth replicating

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ASSOCIATE minister of trans› port Craig Foss says getting truck drivers involved in moni› toring road safety and road conditions is a Southland initiative worth replicating in other parts of the country.
Southland has revamped its road safety group and created the Southland Road Safety Influencing Group. As well as transport planners and engin› eers the group includes representa› tives from major transport com› panies such as HW Richardson Group and Fonterra.
Mr Foss was in Invercargill last Wednesday to meet group mem› bers and said he would be suggest› ing other parts of the country involve trucking companies too.
‘‘When I first heard about the idea, it is so obvious in hindsight. You’ve got companies on the road covering 89% of the [country’s roading] network over a week. Why not use that opportunity.
‘‘Eyes and ears on the road all the time is a fantastic example of partnership between the private and local government sectors and I think the rest of the country may well want to have a look at that.’’
The main focus of Mr Foss’ visit was to update the group on the Visiting Drivers Project — a multi› faceted campaign launched last year to try and reduce the number of tourist drivers involved in road crashes and driving unsafely.
The project is targeted at South› land, Otago and the West Coast, where roads carry high numbers of tourist drivers. It includes training for overseas tourism operators assisting visitors with bookings, in› flight road safety information, a code of practice for rental vehicle operators, and $25 million worth of road safety improvements such as improved rest area signage, more ‘‘keep left’’ lane arrows, more no› passing lines, more barriers, and road shoulder widening where feas› ible.
Mr Foss said among project initiatives was the installation of centreline rumble strips, including an additional 125km recently installed between Te Anau and the Fiordland National Park boundary on State Highway 94 and between Mossburn and Frankton on State Highway 97.
‘‘There is not one thing that anyone can do to improve safety. We can’t wave a magic wand. But bit by bit [the initiatives] are all adding up.’’
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