Year’s road deaths total 254 – lowest number since 1952

News from NZ Government
The provisional road toll for 2013 of 254 is the lowest in the last 60 years. It compares with 308 in 2012, 284 in 2011, and 375 in 2010.

“The 2013 road toll was 34 per cent lower than four years ago and it’s particularly pleasing that 15-24 year olds have seen a significant drop with a 37 per cent lower road toll than in 2009,” says Associate Transport Minister Michael Woodhouse.

“While the number of cars on the roads has increased significantly, our annual road toll has now more than halved from 20 years ago, when 600 New Zealanders a year were killed on the roads.

“In fact, the provisional road toll for 2013 is 1/6 the rate of the lowest road toll from 60 years ago when measured on a kilometres travelled basis.”

The Government launched the Safer Journeys Road Safety Strategy in 2010, and has introduced a number of road safety measures including:

• increased the driving age to 16
• a zero blood alcohol level for drivers under 20 and repeat offenders
• strengthened driving licence testing to raise the standard and help keep young drivers safer
• fixed the give way rule
• introduced alcohol interlocks for repeat offenders
• increased the age for child restraints up to seven years
• introduced legislation to lower the blood alcohol level
• continued to support high profile road safety advertising campaigns

Provisional data for 2013 indicates that alcohol and/or drugs was a factor in 30 per cent of fatal crashes, compared with 31 per cent in 2012. Speed was a factor in 32 per cent of fatal crashes, compared with 25 per cent in 2012.

“The government and road safety partners will maintain our focus on the causes of crashes as we continue working toward our goal of a safe road system increasingly free of death and serious injury.

“Although the 2013 toll is the lowest on record, too many families lost their loved ones on our roads last year, while many others have had their lives changed forever,” Mr Woodhouse says. “The summer holidays are not over so it’s important that we all continue to use the road safely.”

News from AA – December 31
The lowest annual road toll since 1950 is not due to any one change, says the Automobile Association. As of this morning, 254 people had lost their lives on the roads – a 17% reduction from last year. In the last 60 years, the only other year with a road toll below 300 was in 2011.

“This is the lowest number of people killed in road crashes since 232 deaths in 1950,” says AA General Manager of Motoring Affairs Mike Noon.

The four regions with the biggest reductions are: Manawatu/Wanganui, Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay, Waikato, and Southland.

Some of the best areas of improvement in this year’s road toll are:
• The biggest reduction has been in passenger deaths – down 41%
• Motorcyclist deaths have fallen 18% from 2012
• There has been a 38% reduction in deaths among 25-39 year olds

“When you look at the number of people using the roading network in modern New Zealand, our roads are the safest they have ever been,” says Mike Noon. “That doesn’t change the fact that each and every one of the deaths and serious injuries suffered on our roads are tragic events that cause enormous hurt and loss in families and our communities.”

The question that will continue to be asked is why our road toll has dropped so significantly in recent years, but there is no single answer says Mr Noon.

“Vehicle safety is improving dramatically and that’s a part of it. There has been some fantastic work done to improve the quality of high risk roads and roadsides and that’s a part of it. People’s attitudes to road safety and the way they drive have also changed for the better and that’s a part of it. All of these together are helping to bring down our road toll.”

It is not just road deaths that are falling.

“Since 2009 we’ve seen a downward trend in the number of injury crashes,the number of drink drivers and the number of young drivers involved in fatal and serious crashes. What this continues to show is that deaths and injuries on our roads are not inevitable. On a per capita basis we are now almost at the same rate of road deaths as Australia.

“Improving road safety is something we can never be complacent about. We can and must do better again in 2014. The AA sincerely hopes that this time next year we can again celebrate more reductions in deaths and injuries on our roads.”

News from NZ Police
The provisional 2013 road toll of 254 deaths reflects a partnership approach to road safety says Assistant Commissioner Dave Cliff.

“There’s no one reason this 60 year low figure has occurred – it is the result of many factors including better legislation, enhanced enforcement, safer vehicles and better road design. It also reflects the fact that the majority of Kiwi drivers get the message about speed, alcohol and seat belts which police and our road safety partners have been relentlessly talking about in recent years.”

“It is also pleasing to note that, since the November launch of the high profile multi-agency Safer Summer campaign focussing on speed and alcohol, the lowest December road toll since 1965 has been achieved with 23 fatalities in December.

“However, while today’s numbers are welcome news, it is no great cause for celebration. We still have hundreds of families dealing with the devastating loss of a loved one from a crash in 2013. I am particularly mindful of the many more coping with a family member who has suffered serious injury, often with lifelong consequences.

“Because of this police and our road safety partners will continue to be 100 percent focussed on preventing as many crashes as possible in 2014. There is no room for complacency – police want fewer crashes, fatalities and serious injuries in 2014.

“We will continue to work closely with our partners in the Government’s Safer Journeys strategy to produce a safe road system increasingly free of death and serious injury.”


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