Raising awareness of the dangers of driver distraction and educating motorists about the importance of vehicle safety was the focus of a combined NZ Transport Agency and police inspection in Katikati this week.
A team of Transport Agency staff and Bay of Plenty police carried out inspections of cars, vans and other light vehicles on Wednesday May 13, on SH2 in Katikati.
Drivers had a breath test, licences were checked and vehicles were given a TWIRL inspection – Tyres, Windscreen, Indicators, Rust, and Lights.
Of the 275 vehicles stopped, more than a quarter had some form of defect (75 vehicles, 27.2 per cent).
The most common safety issues were lights and indicators that didn’t work, broken windscreens that affected visibility, and bald tyres.
A number of the vehicles had expired registrations and WoFs, with one vehicle found to be unwarranted for a decade.
The more serious safety faults received tickets on the spot from police, with others that were less serious were given 14 days to rectify the problem.
Drivers with very minor faults had the matter brought to their attention so they could fix the issue.
Two vehicles with significant safety defects were issued green stickers, meaning they could only be on the road after the defect had been fixed. A number of licence breaches were also picked up by police.
Those who were stopped were also given a “Check Your Car” TWIRL safety check flyer and key ring which measure tyre tread depths were handed out.
Transport Agency Access and Use Manager for the Waikato and Bay of Plenty, David Pearks, said the operation was a chance for the Transport Agency and police to work together to educate drivers about the importance of safety on SH2.
“It’s great to be able to connect directly with drivers and raise their awareness about the safety of their own vehicle,” he said.
“While this inspection showed most drivers keep their vehicle safe, it is concerning that more than a quarter had some form of defect.
“Alongside last year’s changes to WoF inspections, we’re running a Check Your Car public awareness campaign to encourage vehicle owners to take an active role in keeping their cars safe.
“It doesn’t take long to give your car a quick safety check, and get it to an expert if you think anything is wrong.”
During the checkpoint police took the opportunity to remind people to stay focused when driving.
“Driving at a safe speed and having a car that is up to WoF standards is important but it is also vital that you do not get distracted when driving,” Senior Sergeant Ian Campion says.
“There will be many people who consider themselves to be safe and responsible drivers because they wouldn’t dream of speeding or drinking and driving.
“The harsh reality is that a momentary lapse of attention by a law-abiding, sober driver can have the same devastating consequences.
“For the families who lose a loved one in a fatal road crash, it is no consolation to hear that it was the result of an innocent mistake. If every motorists focuses on the sole task of driving safely; mistakes can be avoided and lives can be saved.”
The joint operation was carried out in Rotorua late last year and will be repeated in other Bay of Plenty and Waikato areas over the next six months.
For more information on the Check Your Car campaign - including how to do a quick “TWIRL” check of your Tyres, Windscreen, Indicators, Rust and Lights, visit the Transport Agency website at www.nzta.govt.nz/checkyourcar(external link).
Here is a video(external link) of Senior Sergeant Ian Campion speaking about the operation, and a photograph of Transport Agency staff inspecting a vehicle.