Police have high hopes of no road deaths over Easter break

Last updated 05:00 09/04/2012

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Police are hoping for a zero Easter road toll.

It would be the first since records began, but the country's road policing manager hopes it can be achieved this year after a blemish-free Easter weekend so far.

By last night there had been no fatalities on the roads since the official holiday period began on Thursday afternoon. This follows on from last year's road toll of 284 – the lowest in decades and the first time it had been under 300 deaths since 1952.

Acting road policing manager Superintendent Rob Morgan said by 1pm yesterday police had attended 377 crashes nationwide but none of them had been fatal.

At the same time last year they had attended 395 crashes and during the entire Easter period there were five deaths. In 2010 there were 12 deaths during Easter.

The official Easter holiday period ends at 6am tomorrow.

Police said a man who died in hospital in Auckland following a crash in the East Auckland suburb of Glen Innes, on Saturday, had a medical condition and did not count towards the road toll.

Mr Morgan said the high risk periods for crashes were generally on Thursday afternoon and evening, Friday morning and Monday afternoon and evening as people made their way to or from holiday spots.

He was unsure why the weekend had been blemish-free but said police had been targeting not only speeding drivers but those going significantly under the speed limit.

"These things are somewhat unexplainable really, we have just got to celebrate the fact that no families are suffering the loss of a loved one so far this Easter."

Earlier this year police said several factors were likely to have played a part in last year's low road toll, including the price of petrol keeping some motorists off the road, legislation and road rule changes, police enforcement and generally higher public awareness.

Mr Morgan hoped the toll would not creep up today.

"In the end it's down to people being responsible for their own safety. They need to take driving seriously and keep their own speed down."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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