It's hardly an original New Year's resolution but Bay of Plenty police are aiming for another record low road toll this year.
And they have an ace up their sleeves to help them achieve it.
Their "beat book" is part of a new way of road policing, containing in-depth information about where crashes happen, at what times and why.
In 2005, 45 people were killed on Bay of Plenty roads, with four killed during the Christmas and New Year holiday season.
The region's road toll was 17 fewer than the previous year and five fewer than the previous record low for fatal crashes, set in 2002.
Twenty of the deaths on our roads in 2005 were in the Taupo district. Western Bay of Plenty and Eastern Bay of Plenty each recorded 11 fatalities and there were just three in the Rotorua district. The Bay's traffic police are aiming for an annual road toll of fewer than 25 by 2008 and attribute last year's regional low to Rotorua's record low. But they're determined to ensure it isn't a fluke.
Senior Sergeant Ed Van Den Broek of the Rotorua Police Strategic Traffic Unit said Bay of Plenty police had been working off the beat book for the past couple of months. The book allows supervisors to roster and direct police traffic staff, Highway Patrol and speed camera operators to crash hotspots at high-risk times.
"Gone are the days when traffic cops would turn out of the driveway each day and say 'should I go left or right today?'," Mr Van Den Broek said. The book has been put together by intelligence staff at Bay of Plenty police headquarters, using crash data from the past five years. Every State Highway, rural and urban road is covered and areas are rated from 1 to 4 in terms of risk, with 1 being the highest risk. Each area is broken down and facts are provided to help police work out the best times to send staff to a particular area.
Rotorua's central business district, for example, is rated 1, as there is an injury crash in the area every 15.3 days. There is a fatal crash or serious injury crash every 3.7 months and Mondays and Wednesdays between 3pm and 6pm are when they are most likely to occur. The main locations for crashes in Rotorua city are along Fenton St, between Seddon and Pukaki Sts, as well as on Lake Rd near Bennetts Rd. The main causes of crashes are alcohol, loss of control and pedestrians.
In the past five years, there have been two fatal crashes in Rotorua's central city, 11 serious injury crashes, 29 minor injury crashes and 113 non-injury crashes.
While police all over the country are heading towards intelligence-based policing, Mr Van Den Broek said no other police district had yet instigated the beat book system for traffic policing.
The books will be updated every year to monitor changing patterns and new blackspots.