Amy is the head of news for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Bay road toll set to equal 2012

The number of fatal road crashes in the Western Bay is on track to equal last year's 30-year low.

Three fatal crashes have been recorded this year, the same number as at this time last year.

Eight people died on Western Bay roads during 2012 - the lowest toll for 30 years.

Western Bay road policing manager Senior Sergeant Ian Campion said he was pleased so far, "but we've got the rest of winter to come and the busy holiday period".

"I'm a little nervous but we are in a good position.

"I just urge everybody who drives through the Western Bay to drive very safely," he told the Bay of Plenty Times.

Lisa Boston, 42, was killed when she pulled out of Ruahihi Rd on to State Highway 29 in front of a logging truck on June 21, 33-year-old Dianne Royce Rickerby died in a head-on crash on a corner of State Highway 2, east of Poplar Lane on February 17, and Steven John Wilson, 46, died after the van he was driving smashed into a rock face near the intersection of Pyes Pa Rd (State Highway 36) and Mangatoi Rd on January 30.

New Zealand Transport Agency serious injury crash statistics also look set to be lower than last year.

Figures show there were 69 crashes in the Western Bay which resulted in serious injuries last year but only 31 up to the end of May this year.

But the number of crashes which resulted in minor injuries in the Western Bay looked likely to increase, with 120 recorded to the end of May this year and 227 in total last year.

Transport Agency state highway manager Brett Gliddon said the overall downward trend of fatal and serious crashes over the past five years was a good result and reflected what the agency had done and the organisations it worked with, including police and local councils.

"We recognise the human face behind these tragedies when a crash occurs - and the aim of the Government's Safer Journeys strategy is to reduce the number of fatal and serious injury crashes on our roads," Mr Gliddon said.

Nationally, the toll for the first half of the year has been the lowest for a six-month period in more than 50 years.

Provisional national road toll figures show there were 128 road fatalities for the six months to June 30 this year. During the same period in 2012 there were 140 deaths, and in 2011 there were 139. Police have expanded their annual winter road campaign this year to cover all major highways out of the Western Bay, including the Kaimai Range.

Mr Campion was pleased with the behaviour of most drivers travelling over the Kaimais. The driving of most of those using State Highway 2 to Te Puke and State Highway 33 to Paengaroa this winter had similarly been good, but State Highway 2 north, between Bethlehem and Athenree, was a concern.

Police had been called to six crashes in the area this month, compared to three for the whole of July last year.


- Bay of Plenty Times

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