Waikato commuters are being encouraged to think about how changes to two of the Give Way rules will affect their journeys to work, before the new rules come into force at 5.00 am this Sunday, 25 March.
New Zealand Transport Agency (NTZA) Manager, Access and Use (Waikato/Bay of Plenty), David Pearks, says people need to familiarise themselves with the new rules in general and think about them in relation to the state highways and local roads they travel around within the region.
"However, I'd also recommend commuters in the region take some time this weekend to look in more detail at their usual route to work, so they can consider where the rule changes might affect their journey. That way they can make adjustments to the route if they want to before they head out on Monday. Our 'Road & Travel' information is available online at www.nzta.govt.nz(external link) or they can phone the 0800 4HIGHWAYS freephone (0800 44 44 49) for help to do this."
Mr Pearks says the Give Way rule changes are another step in the NTZA's work around improving access and use on New Zealand's roads, to achieve better interaction between the roads, vehicles and how people use both. "Our road safety initiatives, along with our driver and vehicle regulation, inspection and testing work, are a big part of this. Changing these two Give Way rules is a logical extension of this work."
While NZTA expects it will take time for people to get used to the changes, previous experience and research says this should settle down over time. "We expect the changes will support easier decision-making, leading to improved safety at intersections in the long term," says Mr Pearks. He adds that crash data collected by NZTA over time will be used to look at trends in intersection crash rates before and after the change. "Early analysis isn't possible and won't provide a meaningful comparison," says Mr Pearks. "However, we will be monitoring the situation very closely."
The NZTA's website has an extensive range of resources which people can use to get up to speed on the Give Way Rule changes, says Mr Pearks. "Some people may prefer to check out the information on our website individually, in their own time. Equally, any group or organisation can access these resources to use when presenting to a group. We'd encourage any employer or organisation to make sure their staff or members know what the new rules are."
The online resources include the NZTA's TV ads plus videos illustrating the rule changes from a birds-eye view and from a driver's view; an interactive quiz for people to test their knowledge of the rules; Q&As; a Powerpoint presentation; and PDF leaflets on the rule changes available in 13 languages and in larger print. The resources are available at www.giveway.govt.nz(external link).