25 crashes in a week on Western Bay roads

By Amy McGillivray

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Police are urging Bay motorists to drive responsibly after a chaotic week which saw more than 20 crashes on the region's roads.

Western Bay of Plenty road policing manager Senior Sergeant Ian Campion said there were 25 crashes between October 1 and early yesterday more than double the weekly average of 12.

Two resulted in serious injuries and three in minor injuries, Mr Campion said.

Three of the accidents involved alcohol, speed was a factor in seven while six crashes occurred at intersections and six involved elderly drivers.

Mr Campion said the figures were hugely disappointing.

"A lot of the crashes were just related to not complying with the very basic road rules," he said.

If everyone kept a safe following distance, kept speed down, gave way and stayed in their lane, most crashes could be avoided, he said.

"Road safety is everyone's responsibility. I wouldn't like to have another week like this."

The road toll in the region so far this year is at a record low and Mr Campion said he would like to see it stay that way.

Mr Campion said the Western Bay was over-represented in intersection crashes.

"They are a big problem around here. It's one of the main causation factors behind alcohol," he said. "With the traffic volume these days it can be quite difficult getting out of an intersection but people just have to be patient."

He said the intersections of Fraser St and Fifteenth Ave, Cameron Rd and Fifteenth Ave and Hewletts Rd and Totara St were among the worst in Tauranga although no crashes took place there last week.

Elderly drivers were also over-represented in last week's crashes, Mr Campion said.

"The elderly tend to have slower reactions to incidents, so when they are faced with an emergency situation they tend to act a bit slower."

A New Zealand Transport Agency spokesperson said all drivers are required to renew their license when they turned 75, again at 80 and then every two years.

Older drivers must pass an eyesight test and present a medical certificate from a doctor deeming them fit to continue driving.

Age Concern also runs two free driving courses.

The organisation gets a handful of referrals from doctors or the AA suggesting people who would benefit from doing the course.

Western Bay Driving instructor Mark Revill-Johnson said he had seen a handful of older drivers go through the driving school this year after failing the on-road driving test.

Mr Campion said older drivers should try to avoid driving during peak hours, plan their route before they left and try to make left turns instead of right where possible.


Crash facts

Last week's intersection crashes:

Elizabeth St and Glasgow St, Tauranga

Fraser St and Fourteenth Ave, Tauranga

Chadwick and Mansel roads, Tauranga

Cambridge Rd and Westminster Dr, Judea

Cambridge Rd and Te Atatu Pl, Judea

Cameron Rd and Tui St, Te Puke

25 crashes last week

2 serious injury crashes

3 minor injury crashes

3 involved alcohol

7 involved speed

6 intersection crashes

6 involved elderly drivers

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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