Road fatalities in Canterbury this year have already surpassed the total number for 2012 prompting a call from the NZ Transport Agency for motorists to travel at safer speeds and take care on the roads.
The Transport Agency's Southern Regional Director Jim Harland says in the first nine months of this year 35 people died on Canterbury roads, compared with 33 for all of last year.
While there is no new trend emerging with these crashes, the greatest number of fatalities have been in Christchurch city and the Selwyn district, with contributing factors being speed, alcohol and intersections.
"This year we have also seen a number of motorcycle, pedestrian/truck and cyclist/truck crashes," he says.
"What we are asking is for everyone to take extra care on the road, particularly as we head into the busy summer and festive season.
"All roads users - drivers, cyclists and pedestrians - need to be more patient and take their time: stop at stop signs, drive to the conditions, don’t drink and drive, look twice at intersections and don't drive if tired."
Mr Harland says everyone in Canterbury has been through three difficult years and with many of our roads remaining in poor condition, greater care needed to be taken, particularly around cyclists and pedestrians who are the more vulnerable road users.
"There is anecdotal evidence that driver distraction is also a contributing factor for crashes in Christchurch."
The Transport Agency is working to reduce deaths and injuries on our roads by taking action in four key areas: promoting safer speeds which are appropriate for the function and use of a road; investing in safety improvements for our roads and roadsides; promoting safer driving and encouraging motorists to buy the safest vehicle they can afford.
Mr Harland praised the work of Canterbury's road safety committees with road fatalities having trended down during the five years to 2013 and there also having been a drop in serious injuries.
"These committees have done a lot of great work with campaigns targeting safer speeds, rural drink-driving and intersection crashes and working with young drivers."
He says the newly established Canterbury Regional Road Safety Working Group will begin working on Regional Road Safety Risk Projects in the coming months, focussed on safer speeds and motorcycle crashes.
Mr Harland says there has also been a lot of good work by the Selwyn District Council to improve roads in the district to cater for the greater number of people making Selwyn their home. "There have been a higher number of intersection crashes in Selwyn with more vehicles travelling on the local roads."
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