Safety During the Festive Season

Just like that, another festive season has arrived and it’s now officially acceptable to bring out the twinkling lights, tinsel and Christmas carols. It’s during these times that we start winding down and taking stock of the things that we appreciate in life: our family, friends and the valuable time spent together. I’m reminded at this time of the importance of looking out for each other, and making sure the new holiday memories we make are nothing but positive.

This month, work Christmas parties are in full swing and friends are organising catch ups. A common feature at these celebrations is often alcohol, and unfortunately, this is where those memorable occasions can take a tragic turn.

In the Ashburton District, the majority of fatal road crashes involve alcohol. It’s a sad story told across many communities in New Zealand, but here in Ashburton, local organisations are doing what they can to try and change this.

Next week, Ashburton Community Alcohol & Drug Service (ACADS) will be launching a new campaign designed to encourage people to take action to stop friends and family getting behind the wheel after drinking.

If people in your family are heading to a Christmas party, ask if they have a way of getting home; organise in your group of friends for someone to be a sober driver; promote non-alcoholic options at your work get-together or make sure there are courtesy vans available. No one wants to learn that their loved one has been involved in a car crash, especially at this time of year, and even more so when it’s caused by something so preventable.

Working together, we can disrupt this dangerous and unacceptable behaviour. Make it your business to look out for your mates and family this festive season.

Individual efforts support some larger projects happening in our district to make our community a safer place. Last week, I had the pleasure of joining representatives of 19 other community groups in signing the Ashburton District’s Safe Communities Charter. The district is working towards becoming an accredited Safer Community with the Safe Communities Foundation New Zealand, which will help to direct the collective effort and drive positive outcomes for our community.

As part of this project, a number of groups and organisations (including ACADS) have been working together to identify six priority areas for our district. These are road safety, rural safety, falls in those 65 years plus, harm reduction/prevention, the environment, drugs and community safety programmes, and alcohol. It’s all about people working together to look out for each other, just like we can all do on a personal level with the people we care about.

​Let’s make our district an even better place to live, starting with our safety.​

Page reviewed: 09 Jan 2019 9:11am