Fewer serious crashes last year

Fatal and injury car crashes in South Canterbury have fallen by 33 per cent in the past year.

Latest statistics from the New Zealand Transport Authority show the overall number of injury and fatal crashes dropped from 147 in 2011 to 99 last year. In both years, there were four fatalities.

Timaru District Council road safety co-ordinator Daniel Naude said the lower numbers showed the nationwide Safer Journey 2020 strategy was a success.

"We concentrate on the things that have the most impact to avoid casualty related crashes.

"We are grateful for the public who are taking road safety messages seriously - hence the result in the lower trends," Mr Naude said

The four fatalities last year occurred at the intersection of Divan Rd with SH1, Tasman Valley Rd, SH8, and Carrolls Rd, Glenavy.

The biggest decrease came in minor injury crashes, dropping from 114 in 2011 to 75 in 2012, while the number of serious crashes dropped from 29 to 20.

The deadliest year on South Canterbury roads in the past five years was 2008 with 10 deaths, followed by nine deaths in 2010.

Over the past five years, 199 of the 699 overall injury and fatal crashes occurred after control was lost on bends and 146 after control was lost on a straight road, while 145 were rear-end accidents and 131 involved cars crossing a road or turning onto one.

The biggest factors in the crashes was poor observation which caused 41 per cent of the accidents, followed by poor handling causing 38 per cent of crashes and poor judgment causing 22 per cent. Speed caused 16 per cent of accidents and alcohol 15 per cent.

The age group of drivers most at fault was 15 to 19-year-olds, responsible for 18 per cent of the accidents, followed by 20 to 24-year-old drivers and 40 to 49-year-old drivers, both responsible for 15 per cent of the accidents.

In the Timaru district, injury and fatal crashes fell 29 per cent, from 92 in 2011 to 65 last year.

NZTA southern regional manager Greg Allnutt said work continued towards a safe road system increasingly free of death and serious injury.

"This work forms part of the NZTA's safer journeys strategy which takes a world-leading safe systems approach. This approach recognises that people are vulnerable to crash forces, and that they can make mistakes, but shouldn't need [to] die as a result."

The Timaru Herald