The officer in charge of Whanganui's Road Policing Unit is warning motorists to be vigilant as local police begin a blitz on speeding.
Sergeant Colin Wright says Whanganui police are cracking down on speeding drivers over November, boosting the number of marked and unmarked vehicles and speed cameras dotted along local roads.
According to Wright, speed is the most significant contributing factor to motor vehicle crashes, and also the biggest determinant in whether occupants of crashed vehicles live or die.
In the five years to 2020, 3165 people have died or were seriously injured in accidents where speed was identified as a contributing factor to the crash occurring, Wright said.
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"While this equates to about 22 per cent of all fatal and serious-injury crashes, speed has been identified as being a factor in 78 per cent of New Zealand's outcomes where there is road trauma.
"Excessive and inappropriate speed is the No 1 road safety problem in many countries, often contributing to as much as one-third of fatal accidents and an aggravating factor in all."
Wright is also warning motorists of the dangers of the often hidden and insidious nature of fatigue behind the wheel.
"At Whanganui Police we frequently get calls about cars weaving on the state highways. Invariably, these are drivers who have had a long journey or are tired from other issues. These drivers are potential crashes waiting to happen.
"Urban myths of driving with the window down or playing loud music are completely ineffective in combating fatigue. The only way to deal with fatigue is rest or changing to a fresh driver."
So far this year, 10 people have died on the road in the Whanganui and Ruapehu districts, while Rangitīkei and South Taranaki districts have seen one and four road deaths respectively.