Fatal crashes spur police plea

Last updated 13:42 17/03/2014

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Waikato police are calling for a change in road culture after a yet another weekend of fatal car crashes in the region.

Two people have died and several were seriously injured after 36 crashes in the region since Friday.

District road policing manager Inspector Freda Grace said the tragedies were largely avoidable.

"In the first incident the Waikato Serious Crash Unit is working to establish what, if any, part speed and alcohol played in a collision between a utility and a truck on State Highway 24 shortly before 1am on Saturday," she said.

Jeremy Kidner, 23, of Matamata died after his utility collided with a truck-and-trailer unit.

The second death happened after 88-year-old Aucklander Roy Grant, who was hit by a car as he crossed SH1 at Karapiro 10 days ago, died in hospital this morning.

More people are fighting for their lives.

"In expressing the sympathies of New Zealand Police to the friends and family of the two men for their loss, we are also sparing a thought for a number of other people who are fighting for their lives following 36 crashes in the

Waikato since Friday," Grace said.

At least another five people have life-threatening injuries as a result of crashes at the weekend, including a 79-year-old man critically injured when hit by a reversing car, and two people who were taken to hospital seriously hurt after their motorcycle and a car collided.

"While the investigations into what happened in each of the crashes continue, we as a community need to focus on preventing more trauma happening on our roads," Grace said.

"Late February through to early April are traditionally busy periods for emergency services dealing with motorcycle and commercial vehicle crashes and it appears this year is no different."

The only way to turn the tide on the spate of road crashes on Waikato roads was to introduce a change in culture, she said.

"We need to drive socially, give each other plenty of room on the road and ensure other road users are able to see you regardless of if you are a pedestrian, cyclist, motor-cycle rider or driver," she said.

"The stakes for those left behind are just too great if you don't."

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