Road deaths largeley avoidable: police

Last updated 05:00 19/08/2013
Bus accident near Shannon
Fairfax NZ

OVER: The bus rolled just before 6pm on SH57 near Shannon.

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Six people people were killed on the roads during the weekend and police say the deaths again highlight the dangers of speed and alcohol.

Three were killed in Rotorua alone, most in avoidable situations, Bay of Plenty road policing manager Inspector Kevin Taylor said.

"It's been a really bad weekend. Many of the serious injuries and fatalities that occurred did not need to happen."

The crashes started in Rotorua on Friday night, when a 54-year-old driver was killed after he crashed into a pole and then a tree.

The man had failed to take a moderate right-hand bend near Reporoa. He was thrown from the vehicle and died at the scene. It was thought speed and alcohol could have contributed to the crash.

Later that night, a 21-year-old man and an 18-year-old girl were killed in a high-speed crash when the driver failed to take a left-hand bend on a windy road near Waimate in the South Island.

The pair were found on SH82 on the Hakataramea Highway, police said. Two others in the car, which ended up in a gully, were injured and taken to hospital.

The couple were not wearing seatbelts, and alcohol, as well as speed, was considered to be a contributing factor to the crash.

A heavy hailstorm on SH30 outside of Rotorua also caused problems on the roads, with at least one car and a truck and trailer crashing. A woman, 55, was killed when the truck crossed the centreline after failing to take a corner, and collided with her car. On the same road, south of Rotorua Airport, a man in his early 20s died that night after being struck by a car.

Police said it appeared that he had been lying on the road in the dark and was hit by an unsuspecting driver. Alcohol was believed to be a factor in this death.

A man in his early 20s died in a head-on car crash in Whangaparaoa, near Auckland, yesterday afternoon. A woman in the other vehicle was also critically injured in the two-car accident outside the town's fire station.

North of Wellington, there were two bus crashes within two hours yesterday evening. Six people were taken to hospital with moderate injuries after a Tranzit Coachlines bus with 30 passengers rolled off SH57 near Shannon. The injured were taken by ambulance to Palmerston North Hospital.

Two hours before, a bus driver was flown to hospital after his bus collided with a van near Otaki.

The driver, thought to be suffering from a medical condition, was flown to Wellington Hospital in a serious condition.

A 91-year-old woman died in Hutt Hospital on Friday afternoon after the car she was in crashed into Wellington Harbour earlier in the day. Police said it was possible that a medical condition had contributed to her death, but it was unclear whether this had happened before or after the crash.

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- The Dominion Post

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