Fatal crashes spur police plea

01:05, Mar 17 2014

A second weekend of fatal car crashes has spurred Waikato police to call for a culture change among the region's drivers.

Two people have died and several were seriously injured after recent smashes in the region.

Thirty six crashes occurred in the region since Friday.

District road policing manager Inspector Freda Grace said the recent 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 SH24 shortly before 1am on Saturday," she said.

"It is too early to determine what caused the crash which claimed the life of 23-year-old Matamata man, Jeremy Kidner, but initial indications are his Toyota Hilux utility failed to negotiate a corner and crossed the centreline into the path of an eastbound Kenworth truck and trailer unit."

The second road fatality happened after an elderly man was struck by a car as he crossed SH1 at Karapiro ten days ago.

Aucklander Roy Grant, 88, died in hospital the day after the collision.

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.

"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. And now we have had our second pedestrian fatality and have another person seriously injured."

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, motorcycle rider or driver, the stakes for those left behind are just too great if you don't."