Lower road toll but still more work to be doneTransport
Transport Minister Steven Joyce says while he’s pleased the 2010 road toll is an improvement on that of 2009 there’s no room for complacency on our roads.
The provisional 2010 toll of 373 compares to 385 in 2009 and 366 in 2008.
Provisional data for 2010 indicates that alcohol was a factor in 33 per cent of fatal crashes, with speed being a factor in 29 per cent of fatal crashes.
Mr Joyce says the 2010 road toll is the second lowest in the last 50 years. It is the third year in a row that we have had less than 400 deaths.
“However, far too many people die on New Zealand roads annually compared to many of the countries we like to compare ourselves with - we have considerably more deaths per head of population than Australia, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.
“In 2010 far too many Kiwis lost a loved one or had their lives torn apart by the effects of a road crash and my thoughts are with those families as we start a new year,” says Mr Joyce.
“The Government is working hard to bring improvements across the road system in 2011 to improve safety,” says Mr Joyce.
“Changes to the driving age, a nil drink drive limit for repeat offenders and young drivers, introducing alcohol interlocks and, in the longer term, making improvements to major highways through the Roads of National Significance will help reduce crashes.
“However ultimately governments can only do so much, and a very significant number of fatalities are caused by drivers making poor choices and operating outside the existing road rules.
“I urge all road users to take extra caution and realise that driving needs all your focus all the time. As Christmas holidays come to a close the roads are at their busiest - we all need to take personal responsibility in the decisions we make to keep ourselves, our families and other road users safe.”