Dunedin named worst city for crashes, casualties

Dunedin City Council senior traffic engineer Ron Minnema said crashes were trending downwards. Photo / File
Dunedin City Council senior traffic engineer Ron Minnema said crashes were trending downwards. Photo / File

Statistically, Dunedin is New Zealand's worst city for motor vehicle crashes and casualties but authorities say the numbers are dropping.

The Ministry of Transport's Motor vehicle crashes in New Zealand 2011 report compiled data taken from reports by police who attended fatal and injury crashes.

The report includes crashes and casualties by population centre, with Dunedin recording the highest crash/casualties of all cities per 10,000 population.

Last year the city recorded 364 injury crashes. Auckland had 2903, and Christchurch 715.

However, Dunedin had the highest number of crashes per 10,000 population (29), ahead of Palmerston North (24) and Napier (23).

The same year the city also recorded the highest number of casualties per 10,000 population (38), ahead of Napier (31), Palmerston North (28) and Hamilton (26).

In 2011 there were four fatal crashes in Dunedin, the lowest of the main centres, while the city also recorded the third highest number of total injuries (470) behind Auckland (3685) and Christchurch (913).

Dunedin City Council senior traffic engineer Ron Minnema said crashes were trending downwards, but around half of the city's crashes occurring at intersections.

"We have done some major upgrade of high risk intersections and technically we have done as much as we can . . . now it is up to the road user to be patient and do what they should be doing; don't jaywalk; turn when you are supposed to, and don't go through orange lights."

In addition Dunedin had "unique climatic conditions," and was over-represented in some areas, such as the number of young people who chose to study the city.

A New Zealand Transport Association road safety report 2006-10 was presented to the council's infrastructure services committee, which showed crashes and casualty numbers in the city were trending downwards.

Southern District Road Policing Manager Inspector Andrew Burns said: "One of the contributing factors to the higher figures for Dunedin is that there is a greater level of compliance for crash reporting and every crash is documented".

"Police gather as much information on crashes as we can so that we can task our staff to the places of highest risk.

"With this approach we have seen that crashes have been reducing steadily."

Nationally there were 259 fatal road crashes, 9545 injury crashes, 284 deaths, and a total of 12,574 people injured in motor vehicle accidents last year.

- Otago Daily Times

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