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Sharp rise in West Coast serious injury road crash rate

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While there were two fewer road deaths on West Coast roads in 2009 compared to the previous year the number of serious injury crashes increased by almost a third according to the latest NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) crash figures for the West Coast Region.

While there were two fewer road deaths on West Coast roads in 2009 compared to the previous year the number of serious injury crashes increased by almost a third according to the latest NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) crash figures for the West Coast Region.

The figures for the period from 2005 to 2009 show there were 30 people were killed on West Coast roads and 199 were seriously injured. Last year there were 6 road deaths in the region and 42 people seriously injured compared to 8 deaths and 39 people seriously injured in 2008.

NZTA Canterbury - West Coast Regional Director Mark Yaxley says the number of fatalities on West Coast roads over the last 10 years has fluctuated between a high of 15 in 2001 and low of 4 in 2006. The jump in serious injury crashes last year to 35 compared to 26 in 2008 is a concern. This is the highest figure in a decade.

“Loss of control crashes on corners is a major road safety issues facing the West Coast, accounting for around 60 percent of fatal and serious injury crashes in the past five years. Male drivers represented around 75 percent of at fault drivers in these crashes - a third of them were in the 15 to 24 year-old age group. A road side hazard was in hit 70 percent of injury related crashes on bends in the region, with cliffs or banks the most commonly struck objective. Nearly 60 percent of these involved drivers travelling to fast for the conditions”.

Mr Yaxley said almost 30 percent of injury crashes on the West Coast involved driving to quickly for the conditions, resulting in 7 deaths and 59 serious injuries between 2005 and 2009. Handling errors and alcohol were among the main contributing factors in these crashes, with young drivers making up over 40 percent of at fault drivers.

Mr Yaxley added that the Safer Journey’s Road Safety Strategy with its focus on both the safety of our roads and road sides should help reduce the severity of crashes where vehicle leave the road. Work will be carried out so eventually features such as signage, speed limits and road markings encourage drivers to travel at speeds appropriate for the design and function of particular roads.

NZTA crash figures for 2005-2009 for the West Coast region show there were 132 crashes involving overseas drivers including both tourists and New Zealand residents driving on an overseas licence. These resulted in 5 deaths and seriously injured 54 people. Around 60 percent of the crashes involved loss of control on a corner with males making up almost 90 percent of at fault drivers. A large percentage of these drivers were from Europe, followed by North America and the United Kingdom. 

Road safety issues reports for district councils in the West Coast region can be found at www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/(external link)

For more information please contact:

Bob Nettleton
Regional Communications Advisor
T 03 951 3005
M 021 954 928
E bob.nettleton@nzta.govt.nz

Hugh Flower
Tasman District Road Policing Manager
T  DDI 03 546 3855
E hugh.flower@police.govt.nz

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