Low road toll for Southland

Last updated 11:06 02/01/2014

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The death of a 56-year-old woman from China in a three-vehicle crash took Southland's road toll to four in 2013 - the lowest since records began in 1980.

The Chinese tourist was killed in Northern Southland in a crash involving three cars on the Te Anau-Mossburn highway on Sunday.

Eight people, including four Chinese adults from the same extended family in one vehicle, were involved in the crash.

Ministry of Transport figures show Southland recorded its lowest road toll since regional records began in 1980.

The previous lowest road toll ntetotal for the region was six in 2005.

Nationally, the road toll for 2013 was 254, the lowest in the last 60 years.

Southland area commander Inspector Lane Todd said there had been a trend for fewer fatal crashes in the region in recent years.

Road policing was a priority for southern police and he believed prevention policies were behind the reduction in fatal and serious crashes.

There was a lot more education around driving and police had targeted high-risk drivers, high-risk driving times and high-risk locations.

The ''dirty-dozen'' intersection campaign in Invercargill, national road campaigns and safer modern cars had also helped, he said. 

The highest road toll in Southland was 25 in 1982 and 1984.

The total number of fatalities and serious and minor injuries in Southland peaked at 777 in 2006 but a steady reduction since led to 367 in 2012. 

Police performance indicators released this month show Southern district police are leading the way in reducing serious road crashes.

Otago had 12 road deaths in 2013,  the lowest on Otago roads since 2002, when 11 people died. The highest number of fatalities for Otago was 48 in 1988.

For the year to June 30, the number of crash-related hospital stays of more than one day in the Southern district, covering Otago rural, Dunedin and Southland, dropped 22 per cent, compared with the previous financial year.

The national road toll in December was 23, the lowest since 1965, and it coincided with the high profile multi-agency Safer Summer campaign focusing on speed and alcohol.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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