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Jared Savage

Jared Savage is the New Zealand Herald's investigations editor.

Worst holiday black spots revealed

Four people died in this Hawke's Bay accident last year. Photo / Duncan Brown
Four people died in this Hawke's Bay accident last year. Photo / Duncan Brown

The parts of the country - and times of day - which become more dangerous to travel through during Queen's Birthday weekend have been revealed in a police bid to cut the holiday road toll.

Some regions become statistically safer, but the average number of injury crashes on open roads increases in Auckland, Bay of Plenty and Counties Manukau over the holiday period compared with the year-round average.

Those three regions have the main transit routes for holiday makers and are a target for police this weekend.

Since 2000, 88 per cent of fatal crashes on Queen's Birthday weekend have occurred on "open", or rural, roads.

All but one death in the past five years over the holiday weekend happened on rural roads.

A pedestrian hit by a car in Wellington in 2011 was the sole fatality on an urban road in that time.

Assistant Commissioner Dave Cliff said police would be targeting rural roads - and urban roads with higher speed limits - which "tend to be less forgiving" for driver mistakes and where the consequences of a crash are likely to be more severe.

The "tolerance" for speeding will be reduced to 4km/h above the limit for the holiday period.

While speed was not always the key factor contributing to a crash, Mr Cliff said the police wanted everyone to slow down as speed played a major part in the severity of injuries.

Research showed that for every 1km/h decrease in average speed, there was a 4 to 5 per cent de-crease in crash injuries.

"That's why speed is such an enormous road safety issue and one on which police focus heavily."

He said driving during holiday weekends was riskier than at other times because of more traffic on the roads, longer driving distances, often on unfamiliar roads, as well as family stress and fatigue.

The report shows the riskiest time to travel is 7am to 7pm today and then 10am to 5pm tomorrow.

The other high-risk periods are from Saturday 10pm to Sunday 8am and Sunday 10pm to Monday 4am.

Mr Cliff said there would be a strong focus on drink-driving throughout the weekend.

During Queen's Birthday weekend, the number of crashes involving alcohol and poor driving also increased compared to the year-round average.

worst time road

- NZ Herald

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