Road toll at record low

VICKI WATERHOUSE
Last updated 10:42 03/05/2012

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Sunny weather and a crackdown on drink-driving have contributed to the low road toll in Central District last month, police say.

One person died on Central District roads in April, while nationally the road toll hit the lowest it has been since records began.

Provisional figures show 12 road deaths in April nationally, the lowest for any calendar month for any year since 1965.

The previous lowest figure was in February this year, when there were 16 road deaths.

Central District had no fatalities in February, but one in Taranaki in April. An 87-year-old man died in a crash at Lepperton on April 25 when the car he was a passenger in went off the road and flipped.

Head of the serious crash unit Senior Sergeant Nick Dobson said there had been a focus in April on drink-driving and he believed this had reduced the road toll.

"Certainly, higher profile or enhanced alcohol enforcement does have a bearing on people's actions," Mr Dobson said.

He said the fine weather would also have had an impact.

"The colder, the wetter, the more chance there is of injuries or fatalities," he said.

The sole fatality was not a perfect record, but an encouraging result considering the extensive area Central District covered, he said.

"The chances of something happening in our district are probably greater than some other districts, so we have to look at the positives," Mr Dobson said.

"Any motor vehicle crash is one motor vehicle crash too many – ultimately we don't want any but, realistically, we have to accept there are going to be some."

Mr Dobson encouraged people to pay careful attention to driving coming into the winter months as the weather was likely to deteriorate.

Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges said road safety remained a priority for the Government.

"This is an encouraging result, but still too many people are being killed and injured on our roads," he said.

The record month nationally came after New Zealand recorded in 2011 its lowest annual road toll in 50 years and, this year, the first zero-road-toll Easter weekend.

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- Manawatu Standard

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