Kelly Makiha is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Editorial: Keep fatalities going down

This year hasn't got off to a good start on our roads.

Just as we brought you news yesterday of another relatively low road toll in the Rotorua area, family and loved ones of a young woman were waking up to the news of a horror fatal smash near Taupo.

The 28-year-old was killed just before midnight on Sunday after her car and a milk tanker collided, 5km north of the Wairakei roundabout on State Highway 5.

Yesterday we reported there were four people killed on Rotorua roads in 2012.

While that is still four too many, it's a massive improvement on the shocking 2010 results when 14 people died.

During the past couple of years, there has been a big shift nationwide in terms of our road toll. It seems the battle is being won.

It might be that the drink-driving message is starting to finally sink in, or that people don't speed as much as they used to.

Bay of Plenty district road policing manager Inspector Kevin Taylor credits the police for being more visible on state highways. He said three to four years ago, staff would have no trouble catching people speeding but now they were harder to nab - which obviously is a good thing.

But no matter how you look at the figures, for those who have lost people in car smashes, the pain will never get any easier.

Rotorua mother Sonia Wilson has told us that four years after losing her daughter, Whittney Robertson, it is still difficult to move forward.

Whittney was killed by a repeat drink-driver, Royland Alexander McCann, who has already been released on parole.

Mrs Wilson's attitude towards her daughter's killer is pretty amazing. She doesn't hold any ill feelings towards him and hopes he has learnt from the experience.

She hopes he will get the support he needs now that he is out of jail.

I couldn't imagine the pain of losing a child or a close family member in a car accident. It's not something anyone would want to go through.

Be careful out there on the roads and let's try to make 2013 a safe one.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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