Lower speeds just part of answer

By Brendan Manning, Hamish McNeilly, Vaughan Elder

Basic road safety such as wearing seatbelts as important as enforcement of reduced limits, says top road cop.

The Anzac weekend fatalities followed the worst Easter road toll in three years. Photo / Dean Purcell
The Anzac weekend fatalities followed the worst Easter road toll in three years. Photo / Dean Purcell

A lowered speed enforcement threshold is "no silver bullet", according to the country's top road police officer, following four more deaths on public roads this long weekend.

On Sunday at 3am, a 19-year-old male passenger died in a single vehicle crash on Taieri's Riverside Rd. The vehicle's four other occupants, all in their late teens to early 20s, escaped with minor injuries.

The region's relieving area commander, Inspector Jason Guthrie, told the Otago Daily Times the dead man wasn't wearing a seatbelt and it was likely alcohol was a factor in the crash.

It followed a horrific collision in rural Southland late on Friday where three men were killed. The Anzac weekend fatalities followed the worst Easter road toll in three years, when four people died on the country's roads.

The fatalities all occurred while police were enforcing a 4km/h speeding threshhold which began at the start of the Easter holiday.

National road policing manager Superintendent Carey Griffiths said it was disappointing another long weekend had ended with a high number of deaths.

"The lower enforcement threshold is not a magic bullet, it's one of a number of tools in the enforcement toolbox.

"What's equally important is that people heed basic safety messages - far too many people are being thrown out of vehicles and killed for not wearing seatbelts, for instance, which is absolutely preventable and regardless of the cause of the crash needs to be dealt with," Mr Griffiths said.

The Southland crash on Friday was described as the "worst nightmare" for the close-knit Waikaia/Riversdale community.

Christopher Martin Simpson, 39, Matthew James Kennedy McKee, 39, and Ewan Charles Christie, 59, died after the Toyota Hilux ute they were in struck the edge of a concrete bridge just before midnight on Waikaia/Riversdale Rd.

Ward councillor John Douglas said the crash was "gut-wrenching" for the area. "It's a community's worst nightmare."

The families were "well-known and well-respected" farming families in the area and one of the families had lost another family member in a crash some years ago, he said.

Yesterday afternoon, a person was seriously injured after a motorcycle struck a pole on State Highway 16 near Wellsford. A second person received medical attention at the scene.

A Ministry of Transport spokesman said 93 people had died on the roads from January 1 to April 27 this year, up from 81 in 2013, but down from 94 in 2012.

- APNZ

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