Intersections can be dangerous in the Bay as latest crash figures show. Brendan Manning examines the issue and finds out what is being done to make them safer.
Police are cracking down on a "plague of red light runners" at Tauranga intersections, a top local road cop says.
Four fatal crashes occurred at Tauranga intersections between 2007 and 2011, New Zealand Transport Agency crash analysis data reveals.
Tauranga's most dangerous intersection was Cameron Rd & Eighteenth Ave, with three serious or fatal crashes.
Oceanbeach Rd & Golf Rd, Cambridge Rd & State Highway 29, Moffat Rd & SH2, and SH2 & Matapihi Rd intersections also rated highly, each recording two serious or fatal crashes in the same time period.
Two people have died on Western Bay roads in the year to date, down from three at the same time last year.
Western Bay of Plenty road policing manager Senior Sergeant Ian Campion told the Bay of Plenty Times police had been targeting high-risk intersections with regular campaigns, education programmes and "spotter tactics, where we have someone in civilian clothes at the intersection keeping an eye on things".
"You only have to look at State Highway 2 North, there are a number of intersections there that are quite high-risk."
Inattention, failing to give way and poor gap selection were the biggest causes of crashes at Western Bay intersections, Mr Campion said. Crashes at intersections were particularly bad because they were "T-bone type crashes", he said.
New Zealand Transport Agency spokesman Andy Knackstedt said the fact that one intersection had more injury crashes than another did not necessarily mean it was "more dangerous".
"It may simply mean that there is a lot more traffic travelling through the intersection, and hence statistically there are likely to be more crashes."
A single serious crash at an intersection could also result in several serious injuries, and that crash may well have been the result of a drunk-driver failing to stop, rather than the intersection's design.
The Safer Journeys Action Plan 2013-15 was launched last month with a goal of a safe road system, increasingly free of death and serious injury. It includes a high-risk intersection programme - identifying the country's 100 highest risk intersections and developing solutions for at least 30.
Associate Transport Minister Michael Woodhouse said while the numbers of people killed or injured in crashes had declined by about 20 per cent over the past four years, more needed to be done. "Our roads are not as safe as they could be and we need to keep working on strengthening all aspects - vehicles, speed, roads and roadsides and road use."