Regan Schoultz is an NZME news service reporter based in Auckland.

Road toll rises dramatically due to 17 deaths in one week

Road toll soars to 65 with 17 people killed in past week alone.
State Highway 10 was closed south of Kaeo after a two vehicle collision left four people seriously injured. Photo / Northern Advocate
State Highway 10 was closed south of Kaeo after a two vehicle collision left four people seriously injured. Photo / Northern Advocate

The husband of a woman killed in a fiery crash is urging motorists to think about others when they drive.

Raphael Giles' plea follows seven days of carnage on the roads. Up to 17 people have died, taking the year to date's road toll to 65 last night.

In the first two months of last year 55 died, and 41 died in the time in 2014.

The week's tragedies include:

Leroy John Brown, 9, was among three people who died after a head-on crash on Saturday in Te Kuiti, in rural Waikato

Leroy's mother, Angela Berger, 45, died yesterday in hospital and Leonard Marshall Mackey, 59, from Ashburton was also killed.

A fiery collision between a car and a milk tanker in Patea on Thursday killed three more - Chantelle Giles, John Bayne and his sister Cherylene Bayne. The driver of the tanker, Michael Fairclough, was later found dead in his home.

Michael Fairclough, the tanker driver who was involved in the Patea crash. Photo / Supplied
Michael Fairclough, the tanker driver who was involved in the Patea crash. Photo / Supplied

John Alexander Horn, 54, also died that day when his motorcycle and a car collided in North Otago.

A further five people died the next day. German tourists Kathrin Schmitt and Julia Mayer, both 19, were killed in Fiordland when their car was crushed by a falling tree.

A Hamilton man, 19, died when he crashed into a tree and two other fatal crashes occurred in Manawatu and Gisborne on the same day.

On Monday afternoon Tammy Salter, 34, and husband Adam Salter, 32, died when their car and a truck collided in Canterbury. The pair had worked in the Christchurch hospitality sector and Mrs Salter had just recovered from a stroke.

Tammy Salter and husband Adam Salter. Photo / Supplied
Tammy Salter and husband Adam Salter. Photo / Supplied

• And yesterday a woman was killed in a head-on crash in Whangarei just after 4.30pm. Another person was taken to hospital in a serious condition. The collision followed another accident on State Highway 10, south of Kaeo, at 12.30pm that left four people seriously hurt.

The grieving husband of Patea crash victim Chantelle Giles, Raphael, made a plea to Kiwi drivers last night, urging them to watch their speed.

"We've got to think about others, that's why rules are there. Rules are there to protect us and others."

Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss said long-term figures indicated the number of people killed on our roads was reducing, dropping by 36 per cent between 2000 and 2014.

Organisations were working hard to cut the road toll, but he acknowledged there was never a silver bullet. The toll was "much, much too high".

He said alcohol, drugs, excessive speed, fleeing police and not wearing a seatbelt were the main factors.

Ministry of Transport land transport safety manager Brent Johnston said road deaths had a devastating effect on victims' families.

He urged drivers to always drive within the speed limit and to the conditions, minimise distractions in the car and make sure they and all passengers were buckled up. "Road safety is everyone's responsibility and drivers can make a difference."

Ministry statistics from the past two months showed 46 males and 19 females died on the roads. Thirty-three drivers, 17 passengers and 11 motorcycle riders were killed. Two cyclists and a pedestrian also died, with one unclassified fatality.

Twice as many people have died while not wearing seat belts this summer compared with last summer.

The number of people not wearing seatbelts was a worrying trend, AA spokesman Dylan Thomsen said.

"In some cases there seems to be some people out there who are making some really poor choices but there is no simple answers. "

To try to combat the issue, the police have kick-started a nationwide campaign to get people to wear their seat belts this week.

But it was just one of many issues. Drivers becoming distracted not driving to the conditions, driving while under the influence and speeding were also at play.

Mr Thomsen said the AA wanted to see a number of measures implemented which could drastically improve the road toll. Regan Schoultz, Scott Yeoman, Jimmy Ellingham and Vaimoana Tapaleao

- NZ Herald

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