Crash another reminder of need for seatbelts, police say

By Peter de Graaf -
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Police are once again urging drivers to buckle up after a crash in which a young woman was thrown through a car window after failing to use a seat belt.

The latest accident occurred on Mangakahia Rd, near Tautoro south of Kaikohe, about 7.40pm on Saturday.

Sergeant Ross Laurie, of Mid North police, said it appeared the driver had lost control, spun out and crashed into a roadside ditch. She was thrown through the rear window when the car hit the ditch, suffering head injuries and "a painful gravel rash".

It was believed the 19-year-old Auckland woman was not wearing a seat belt.

Her two passengers were buckled in. The front seat passenger was uninjured but the rear passenger suffered concussion, most likely when she was hit by the driver as she was catapulted out of the back of the vehicle.

The two injured, described by Mr Laurie as moderately injured and very lucky, were taken by ambulance to Whangarei Hospital.

The crash was yet another reminder of why seatbelts were necessary, Mr Laurie said.

Earlier this month the region's top traffic cop, Inspector Wayne Ewers, said up to 40 per cent of last year's 27 deaths on Northland roads were the result of people failing to use a seatbelt.

"Unless people are going to listen to the same old safety message to put on a seatbelt, we are going to end up with the same bloody result. We are going to have families devastated simply because people are making bad decisions."

Meanwhile, a head-on crash was caused by an overseas driver pulling to the wrong side of the road to avoid an oncoming vehicle, police say.

The smash occurred about 4.30pm on Friday on unsealed Horeke Rd, between Taheke and Horeke.

Sergeant Ross Laurie of Mid North police said a Taiwanese national was driving a rented Nissan Tiida from Cape Reinga to Waipoua Forest, using the shortest route as recommended by her GPS. The device directed her via Horeke Rd.

She had been to New Zealand previously but was not used to gravel roads so she was driving near the centre of the road. When she rounded a corner and saw an oncoming four-wheel-drive ute she panicked and pulled to the right. The ute pulled to the left, resulting in a head-on collision, he said.

There were no serious injuries. Police were still considering charges.

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