Teuila Fuatai

Teuila Fuatai is a reporter for the NZ Herald

Road toll higher than 2012

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

The number of road deaths over the Christmas-New Year holiday period edged one higher than last year following a motorcyclist death yesterday afternoon.

In total, seven people - including two children - died over the official holiday period, which began at 4pm on Christmas Eve and ended at 6am today.

Last year's six deaths over the period was the lowest number on record since 1956/57.

The increase in fatalities has prompted top officials to call for greater driver responsibility on the roads - however one organisation has also hit out at tough anti-speeding campaigns on roads.

Associate Transport Minister Michael Woodhouse said it was important to remember every fatality represented a family who had lost a loved one and were without them during the holiday season.

"I encourage drivers to continue to take responsibility and ensure when they are travelling over summer, they stay within the speed limit, drive to the road conditions, and watch following distances."

Assistant Commissioner of Road Policing, Dave Cliff, also said it was reassuring to see the number of roading deaths in December had dropped significantly since the launch of the Safer Summer campaign but seven deaths were still too many.

"I am also very mindful that victims from this holiday period include a 4-year-old girl and 11-month-old baby. No family should have to endure this kind of loss.

"I take some comfort from the fact that since we launched our Safer Summer campaign we have achieved the lowest number of December deaths since 1965 with 23 fatalities."

"With one of the busiest travelling weekends of the year ahead of us, I urge all road users to play their part by keeping their speed down, avoiding alcohol and ensuring everyone in their vehicle is using the appropriate restraints," Mr Cliff said.

However, car buyers website the Dog and Lemon Guide, hit out at police and "tough anti-speeding" campaigns - saying they were not enough to reduce the number of accidents.

"When the holiday road toll drops, the police claim credit," editor Clive Matthew-Wilson said.

"When the holiday road toll rises, as it did this year, the police blame the motorists. They can't have it both ways."

While the police were sincerely trying to lower the road toll by targeting illegal speeding, the sad reality was that about 80 per cent of fatalities occurred at speeds below the legal limit, Mr Matthew-Wilson said.

"Of the 20 per cent of fatal accidents that occur over the speed limit, most involve either motorcyclists, or young, working-class males on the edge of the criminal community who are often blotto or tired or both."

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Christmas-New Year road deaths:

* Sandy Paul Waenga Brown, 21, of Paua. Killed in a crash near Cape Reinga on Christmas Day.

* 11-month-old Olivia Lu of Paraparaumu died when the van she was in left the road on Kapiti Coast on December 28.

* 56-year-old woman from China died in a crash on the Te Anau-Mossburn Highway on December 29.

* 4-year-old Kahui Matauwhati of Masterton died when the four-wheel-drive she was in crashed near Taumaranui on December 29.

* Lynelle Joy Bray, 46, of Hamilton killed in a collision between a car and a bus on December 30.

* 50-year-old Auckland man Gregory John Spargo died after crashing his motorbike near Bulls on December 29

* 52-year-old motorcyclist died following crash with a car on Taihape-Napier Rd yesterday.

- APNZ

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