Agencies' 'good work' behind fall in road toll
The Horizons Region is on track for its lowest road toll in decades, with half as many deaths so far this year compared to the past four years.
The police officer in charge of the region's roads said the trend was encouraging.
In the year to August 19, 10 people died on roads in the Manawatu/Whanganui region, including four in Manawatu District, one in Rangitikei and three in Horowhenua. There had been no deaths on roads in Palmerston North City or Tararua District this year.
The figures are contained in a report to today's Horizons Regional Transport Committee meeting that shows the road toll at the same time was 19 in 2012, 18 in 2011, 25 in 2010 and 24 in 2009.
Central District road policing manager Inspector Dave White said in his patch, which includes Taranaki and Whanganui, there had been 16 deaths in 15 crashes.
Mr White said the trend was "encouraging" but still not good enough. "For every family involved in any one of those 16 deaths they won't care whether they're one of 15 or one of 50."
Each death on the road had "huge ramifications" for the family and friends of the deceased, he said.
Nationally the road toll as of August 19 was 167. At the same time last year it was 177, while in 2009 it was 259.
Mr White said the decrease could be attributed to "a whole lot of good work by a whole lot of agencies".
Police were keeping a high profile on the roads, he said, and putting an emphasis on speed, seat belts, drink driving and dangerous driving.
There were also several organisations involved in driver and public education campaigns, including the NZ Transport Agency, which was continually making improvements to the safety of the state highway network, Mr White said.
An example of this was the trial of technology at the Himatangi crossroads that reduced the speed limit on State Highway 1 when traffic approached the intersection from either of the two side roads.
Lower speeds invariably resulted in fewer serious accidents, he said.
"If you wear a seatbelt and you slow down a couple of kilometres on the highways you've got a better chance of surviving."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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