Disappointing driver behaviour in Timaru

Part of my role is to monitor crash trends. This is based on crash reports or information from the public. To enable me to understand the issues we face, I have to know what behavioural trends are and to know that I have to observe behaviour. I also use a dash camera video camera to record traffic and any incident as part of getting material for road safety education. Last week I spend about 45 minutes at the intersection of Wai-iti and Mountainview Roads. This intersection shows a crash trend over the past years. It was second phase morning rush hour 8:30am onwards.

My expectation was that I would notice drivers from Mountainview road not giving way to traffic on Wai-iti Road. That was not the case at all and drivers behaved well in that regard. However, there were a few vehicles covered in dew, with limited driver visibility.

A few minutes later as I noticed a Ute from a prominent local roofing company moved into view from Mountainview Road, the driver was talking on his cell phone. A few minutes later, another Ute from the same company approached, turned left onto Wai-iti Road, but did not signal at all.

On Wai-iti road, I saw another two male drivers and one female driver, holding and talking on their cell phones. They were all driving late model vehicles, which would most probably have Bluetooth hands free systems factory installed. Why would you not use that? In case that model does not have a hands-free system, get a system installed for under a hundred dollars.

How you would react if someone else crashed into your car, hurting you or someone you love, and you learn that driver was talking on a cell phone?  Would you be ok with that?

The dangers of driver distraction are well advertised on television, local radio stations, newspapers, etc.

You may have noticed a fraction of frustration in this article, with this blatant contempt for the law as well as the disregard for the safety of other road users. I sincerely hope this will change the minds of many culprits.

Come on people, what will it take to get you to stop doing that? Will it help if I show these video clips online of you talking on your phone for everyone to see?

Safer Journeys!

Daniel Naudé

Road Safety Coordinator