What's been going on at the AA? We share news from the Association and our Partners.
Keep your pets and kids safe this summer
In 2023, AA Roadservice responded to 800 emergency callouts for children or pets locked in vehicles. In previous years, the callouts have peaked at around 40-50+ a month during hot summers.
With the El Niño weather pattern forecast to bring a hotter and drier summer to New Zealand, the AA is reminding Kiwis that the heat generated inside a car can be life-threatening.
Temperatures in cars can be double those outside and heat stroke will set in very quickly for any passengers.
AA Chief Mobility Officer Jonathan Sergel warns that the usual steps people take to try and mitigate the heat are not enough – it doesn’t take long for tragedy to strike.
“People may try to mitigate the effects of the heat by cracking open windows, parking their car in the shade, or think if their car isn’t black then it won’t get as hot. On a summer’s day, none of these techniques are going to make your car any safer.”
While many of the AA Roadside callouts are for accidents when someone has locked their keys in the car, it’s disappointing to still get calls from concerned members of the public who have found someone’s pet or child suffering in a hot car.
The message is simple. Don’t leave your kids or pets in your vehicle, even just for a moment.
If you see a child or pet suffering in a hot car, call the AA and the Police or SPCA immediately. There must be someone present at the scene to take responsibility for the vehicle, child or pet.
The AA immediately prioritises any calls involving children or pets locked inside a vehicle. A Roadservice Officer will arrive at the scene free-of-charge, regardless of whether the person is an AA Member or not.
Tackling tyre waste
Do you know what happens to your old tyres?
Currently, New Zealand motorists go through about 6.5 million tyres a year – but only 40% of them get recycled. The remaining 60% often end up in landfills, stockpiles, or illegal dumps, causing environmental and health hazards.
The Tyrewise recycling scheme is tackling this end-of-life tyre problem head-on.
Starting 1 March 2024, the Tyrewise product stewardship scheme will establish a regulated framework for tyre collection, processing and redistribution to registered processors and manufacturers. This will ensure that waste tyres are handled responsibly and sustainably.
Once in place, Tyrewise will work to boost recycling rates, combat illegal disposal practices and turn waste tyres into valuable resources.
To fund this program, a $6.65+GST tire stewardship fee will be introduced for imported tires. This fee will be passed on to consumers and will replace the existing ad hoc disposal charges.
The AA, a member of the Tyrewise industry working group, applauds this initiative, recognising its positive impact on the future of our environment and communities.
A helping paw for people living with epilepsy
One in 100 New Zealanders have or will develop epilepsy at some stage in their lives. While medication or surgery often effectively manage the condition, many individuals require additional support to lead fulfilling lives.
Andrea Hawkless is acutely aware of this challenge. When her son's severe epilepsy proved resistant to both medication and surgery, she went in search of alternative options.
What she found was unexpected – epilepsy assistance dogs.
In the USA and United Kingdom, assistance dogs were being trained to alert people to seizures, provide support during a seizure and help with daily tasks. This meant people with severe epilepsy, like Andrea’s son, could live safer, more independent lives.
Andrea was determined to bring this programme to New Zealand. In 2007, she established the NZEADT – the New Zealand Epilepsy Assist Dog Trust, making New Zealand the third country in the world with such a programme.
Now, the NZEADT trust has since helped hundreds of people and is beacon of hope for those facing the challenges of epilepsy. Trained NZEADT dogs all around New Zealand are actively helping their owners live full and happy lives, with the extra security of knowing they have assistance when they need it most.
For the third year running, AA Pet Insurance is proud to sponsor the NZEADT's mission of providing independence and security for people with epilepsy.
In addition to providing financial support, AA Pet Insurance also provides insurance coverage for NZEADT service dogs. This helps to ensure that these dogs can receive the necessary veterinary care without putting a financial strain on their owners.
Want to show your support? There are a number of ways that you can help the NZEADT. You can donate to the trust, or you can volunteer your time. You can also learn more about the NZEADT by visiting their website.
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Explore more from AA Directions magazine while you're here:
- We investigate the alarming trend of aggressive behaviour towards roadworkers
- Take the 2,990km Great Southern train journey from Adelaide to Brisbane