Simply changing the speed limit is not going to solve the problem of crashes on rural roads, say Wairarapa police.
There were 10 deaths on the roads on the weekend of May 9 to 10, prompting police's most senior road policing officer, Assistant Commissioner Dave Cliff, to suggest some rural roads might need lower speed limits.
Mr Cliff flagged the Rimutaka Hill as one road where speed limits should be cut but Masterton Traffic Sergeant Chris Megaw said just changing the speed limit would not solve the problem.
"To say that a speed restriction will solve every problem is a very simplistic view. There's lots of factors involved: people's driving ability, road worthiness of the vehicle, fatigue, whether people are drunk".
Realistically nobody was driving at 100km/h on Rimutaka Hill, Mr Megaw said.
"If you do 100km/h on the hill, you are going to fall off it, so they could change the speed limit and it wouldn't make a great deal of difference because most people travel at a maximum 80km/h anyway. The other main problem with changing the speed limit is enforcement, because to enforce speed limits on the hill is particularly difficult from a practical policing situation."
Weather was often a contributing factor to crashes on the hill, Mr Megaw said.
Kahutara Rd, Western Lake Rd and Masterton Castlepoint Rd were roads where accidents occurred regularly, but Mr Megaw said he did not support reducing the speed limit on these roads, as drivers could comfortably travel at 100km/h on the straight stretches. "I don't think there's a great deal of evidence to support that a speed restriction would change anything. We've had numerous bad crashes on Masterton Castlepoint Rd, but it's simplistic to say that they are all speed-related."
"On Masterton Castlepoint Rd most people are struggling to do 100km/h due to the windiness ... if the speed limit was dropped to 80km/h it wouldn't make a difference to people using it."
Overall crashes in Wairarapa were dropping, Mr Megaw said.
"A better indicator is the minor crashes and they do seem to be trending downwards."
The road toll has hit 130 this year, 16 more than the number of people who had died on New Zealand roads at this time last year.