Monday, 5 January 2009 - 2:09pm |

Road toll lowest in 15 years

1 min read

The road toll for Central District during 2008 was the lowest it has been for 15 years, hopefully a sign that the proactive educational and enforcement work of the police is helping to drive the road safety message home.

Forty people were killed in 37 crashes on the district's roads. This compares to 53 people killed in 48 crashes during the previous year. Over the last 15 years the toll hit its highest in 1997 with 70.

Analysis of the 2008 crashes shows that crossing the centre line after failing to keep left was the biggest cause, responsible for 13 of the 37 crashes (35%). Other causes were speed in 9 cases (24%), inattention in 7 cases (19%), alcohol in 5 cases (14%), fatigue in 2 cases (5%) and restraints not worn in one case (3%). In some cases where the vehicle was speed, alcohol was also a factor.

Further analysis shows that 17 of the 37 crashes happened on State Highways claiming 21 lives. The time of day that claimed the highest number of lives was between noon and 4pm and the weekends also showed higher death tolls than weekdays.

Road Policing Manager for the district, Inspector Neil Wynne, said: "It is of course pleasing to see the road toll down on previous years and it is testimony to the hard work being done to reduce deaths and improve road safety. However it is still 40 people who have died unnecessarily, 40 families who still coming to terms with losing a loved one. You only have to look at the causes of these crashes to see that they were avoidable. We know that there are a number of factors that account for reductions in death and we are confident that police tactics are among those factors, so we will continue to do whatever it takes to prevent lives being so tragically lost."

The Central District includes Ruapehu, Rangitikei, Wanganui, South Taranaki, Stratford, New Plymouth, Manawatu, Palmerston North, Horowhenua, north section of Kapiti Coast and Tararua.

Media enquiries should be referred to Insp Neil Wynne on 06 351 2535.