Northland road death toll plunging


A strong police presence combined with better road safety education has helped cut Northland's road toll to nearly a third of what it was at this time two years ago. Seven people have died on Northland roads in the year to date, compared with five at this time last September and 18 in 2010.

Roadsafe Northland chair and Whangarei district councillor John Williamson said reducing speed and keeping drunk drivers off the road had helped save lives across the region.

"We came to the conclusion that it was a mix of factors, not just one thing. We've got a recidivist drink driver programme which has over the past five years had a 94 per cent success rate.

"These are people that have had three or more convictions."

In the year to date, 191 people have died on New Zealand roads - three more than at the same time last September.

Waikato has recorded the most road deaths so far this year with 36, closely followed by Auckland. Nelson/Marlborough has had the fewest deaths, with three.

Acting national road policing manager Superintendent Rob Morgan said the number of fatal crashes was actually trending down, but there had been more "fatal multiples", in which several people had died in a single crash. Despite the chilling statistics, the annual road toll has been declining over the last five years, with a record low of last year of 284.

Fifty-seven people aged above 60 have died in road crashes, compared with 44 motorists aged 15 to 24. Mr Morgan said New Zealand had an aging population and people were driving for longer.

- Northern Advocate

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