Sam Boyer

Sam Boyer is a police reporter for the NZ Herald.

Plea for sense as toll rises

Motorcyclist takes holiday road deaths to six, the same as last year, with days to go.

One person was seriously hurt when this vehicle rolled on the motorway to Auckland Airport. Photo / SNPA
One person was seriously hurt when this vehicle rolled on the motorway to Auckland Airport. Photo / SNPA

Holiday drivers need to be sensible if they want to see out the holidays without adding to the road toll, says the country's top road policing officer, after another person was killed yesterday.

A 50-year-old Auckland man died after crashing his motorbike near Bulls about 7am, taking the holiday road toll to six, the same as last year.

But three days of the official holiday period remain and Assistant Commissioner of Road Policing Dave Cliff said he didn't want to see any more deaths.

"Every death is one too many. We have got six families that are grieving. Those people were alive on Christmas Day; they're not alive today," he said. "You need to drive as if your life depended on it because it does."

Last summer's road toll of six was the lowest since at least 1958-59, which is as far back as Ministry of Transport records go. In 1959-60, there were eight holiday period deaths.

The highest Christmas holiday road toll was in 1972-73, with 37 deaths.

As recently as the year before last there were 19 road deaths during the period, which ends on Friday at 6am.

Drivers needed to be sensible and be patient to ensure the toll didn't get any higher, Mr Cliff said.

"The key messages are if you're going to be drinking alcohol, then don't drive, keep your speed down, and if your child is 7 or younger they need to be in an approved child restraint."

It wasn't just the deaths that painted the picture of the road trauma, Mr Cliff said. More work needed to be done to decrease crashes further.

"Every year there are also about 2800 people who require hospital for more than a day. That's seven or eight per day, and often they're left living with life-long injuries like head injuries and loss of limbs. The serious injuries also have awful results for the families living with them."

- NZ Herald

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