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Some key milestones in New Zealand’s road safety history.

DateMilestones
1908 The first known fatal crash occurs in Christchurch on 22 February. A car swerves to avoid hitting a horse. It misses the horse but hits a tram and a passenger thrown from the car dies in hospital a week later. Speed was considered a factor – the car was thought to be travelling 30mph (48km/h).
1929  The first official roll toll is announced – 69 deaths. Before the official count began, road deaths were reported through radio and newspaper reports. From 1908 to 1929 there were an estimated 300 road deaths.
1930 A National Road Safety Conference looks at ways of reducing the rising road toll (which had more than doubled from 108 in 1925 to 246 in 1930).
1936 The National Road Safety Council is established.
1936 Drunk drivers have to undergo severe tests, including reciting the alphabet backwards, walking a straight line and working out a tax payment problem.
1944 The first official school patrols are introduced.
1954 The first issue of Road safety magazine is published.
1961 Representatives from New Zealand attend the International Road Safety Congress at Nice, France.
1961 The Department of Transport launches its first television road safety campaign.
1967 The American-based Defensive Driving Course is introduced to New Zealand.
1977 Plunket and the Ministry of Transport launch a video – ‘Fragile, handle with care,’ to boost the use of child restraints.
1978 The Road code for cyclists is launched.
1995  In June, a ‘shock horror‘ television advertising campaign airs, showing 'raw and uncensored images of the crashes on our roads.'
1996 Street sense, a CD Rom aimed at reducing the numbers of children being killed and injured on New Zealand roads, is released in six languages.
1996 The year’s health stamp issue features children crossing the road safely and in child restraints.
1996  New TV advertisements use the slogan ‘If you drink and drive, you’re a bloody idiot,’ and introduce a new slogan ‘Country people die on country roads.’
1997  Land Transport Safety Authority issued its first booklet on car safety – Choosing a safer car. It set out the differences between active and passive safety and explained how air bags, crumple zones and safety belts help people survive in crashes.
1997 A new hard-hitting TV advertisement launched on 16 November, showing a woman passenger killed in a crash, introduces the slogan ‘the faster you go – the bigger the mess’.
1998 ‘Rumble strips’, a measure to combat driver fatigue, are trialled over a 5km stretch of road between Grenada and Tawa on SH1 north of Wellington.
1998 CAS (Crash Analysis System) is launched. As well as holding information on crashes, CAS maps the location of crashes.
1998 Businesses are approached to develop a safe driving policy with a booklet outlining how safe driving could save them money, and what management’s responsibilities were.
2003 Road safety to 2010 is published.
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