Over the past five years, serious crashes involving pedestrians have shown an upward trend.
A 2017 Ministry of Transport report found that nationwide 48% of at-fault drivers involved in pedestrian injury crashes ‘did not see’ the pedestrian, 29% were ‘not paying attention or attention diverted’.
“Good observation habits are a big part of what distinguishes a good driver from a not-so-good driver,” says Hutt City Council’s road safety coordinator Jan Simmons. “Defensive driving courses stress the importance of scanning for hazards as you drive, and anticipating the actions of other road users. Skilled drivers are more likely to recognise potentially risky situations in advance, and respond to minimise the risk, for example by placing their foot above the brake pedal so they’re ready to stop if necessary.”
“The Scan the scene campaign reminds us to take particular care when turning in and out of driveways,” says Simmons. “At locations such as busy supermarket carpark entrances, the road rules require drivers to give way to pedestrians on the footpath. Driving near schools at busy times and approaching pedestrian crossings are also situations that require extra care. Scan the sides of the road ahead, slow down and be ready to stop for the unexpected.”
NZTA’s Regional Transport Systems Manager Mark Owen says the campaign is the result of collaboration between the NZ Transport Agency and councils across the Wellington region to improve the safety of pedestrians. It targets drivers who travel on the region’s roads on a daily basis, who could improve their observation habits by systematically checking the sides of the road ahead for potential hazards, as recommended in the NZ Road Code.
“While we’re focusing on driving skills with this campaign, we also recognise that pedestrians must do their bit to keep themselves safe on our roads. That means using the footpath wherever one is provided and always checking for vehicles before crossing the road,” Mr Owen says.
The campaign’s radio advertisements challenge drivers to think about their observation habits. The ‘Scan the scene’ message will also feature on billboards and buses, and in social media.