Tuesday, 16 November 2010 - 12:02pm |

Tourist season brings increased road risks warn police

1 min read

Police on the West Coast are frustrated by irresponsible behaviour on the roads which is impacting on their ability to attend serious incidents and is "a disaster waiting to happen".

Police attended two crashes on South Westland roads on Sunday, one being fatal. They also had several reports of irresponsible driving.

Constable Paul Gurney was enroute to a crash at Lake Ianthe, Harihari, in which a car had ended up in the lake, when he encountered a large group of motorcyclists travelling at speeds in excess of 130km per hour. The officer was diverted from the crash call for 20 minutes in order to stop the motorcyclists.

By the time he was back on the road travelling to the first crash, a radio call alerted him to a further accident in which a passenger in the vehicle had died.

The fatal crash at Okarito involved the driver losing control and rolling the car. It appears a passenger has been thrown from the car during the roll. They were not wearing a seatbelt.

Franz Josef Police also took a complaint that day of a local driver overtaking a group of cars on a 25kph blind corner.

"With the increased number of international tourists on the road the risk of drivers reverting back to driving on the right hand side, combined with drivers taking unnecessary risks, is a disaster waiting to happen," said Constable Gurney.

"If drivers or riders continue to travel at these speeds and come across vehicles on the wrong side of the road, the results are predictable," he said.

Police are urging all motorists to slow down, keep to the left and wear seat belts.