Record low road toll, but every death a tragedy

STACEY KIRK
Last updated 10:05 03/01/2013
Fatal Southland crash
NICOLE GOURLEY

CRASH SCENE: The crash that claimed the life of Shane Curtis Tosh in Southland.

Shane Curtis
TRAGEDY: Shane Curtis Tosh was one of six people to lose their lives on New Zealand roads during the holiday period.

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While six holiday deaths isn't something to celebrate, the lowest holiday road toll ever is something to be proud of, police say.

Six people were killed over the Christmas-New Year period - down from 19 the year before and the lowest amount since records began for holiday periods in 1956-57.

Police traffic boss Superintendent Carey Griffiths said it was pleasing, but no less of a tragedy for the families who lost loved ones.

"Of course it's fantastic to see the numbers continuing to trend down but as our staff know, that's still six people whose families must be informed of a terrible tragedy."

The highest holiday period road toll on record is 1972-73 (37 deaths). Previously, the lowest was 1959-60 (8 deaths).

Griffiths said the preliminary road toll for last year was also the second lowest full-year total in 60 years.

Although it is yet to be reviewed, 307 people died on the roads last year.

The lowest was recorded in 2011 when just 284 were killed.

Numbers had been trending down since the late 1980s but Griffiths said they needed to come down even more.

Police, Ministry of Transport, New Zealand Transport Agency and other road safety agencies were working on a new action plan for this year.

Griffiths said the 2013 Safer Journeys Action Plan would consider aspects including roads and roadsides, speeds, drivers and vehicles.

"Meshing all these aspects together as part of a safer systems approach is much more powerful than focusing on individual aspects of road safety."

As people started filing back to work and returning home from their holidays, he asked for the good streak to continue.

"We can all make sure our friends and whanau wear their seatbelts. We can ask people driving to slow down.

"Sober driving is critical to keeping safe. Don't tolerate your mates drinking and driving, and never get into a car with a driver who's been drinking."

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