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Too many drivers losing control on Otago roads

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Drivers failing to control their vehicles on corners, or crashing head on with another vehicle, accounted for nearly 35 percent of fatal and injury crashes on Otago roads in the past five years.

Drivers failing to control their vehicles on corners, or crashing head on with another vehicle, accounted for nearly 35 percent of fatal and injury crashes on Otago roads in the past five years.

Figures released by the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) for the period from 2004 to 2008 show there were 1551 crashes of this type. These caused 44 deaths and seriously injured 478 people. Over the same period there were 78 fatal crashes and 986 serious injury crashes on Otago roads. Last year 21 people died on the regions roads and 188 were seriously injured. This compares to 19 fatal crashes and 163 serious injury crashes in 2007.

NZTA Otago-Southland Regional Director Bruce Richards says most of the loss of control and head on crashes were on rural roads. Once a driver loses control of their vehicle on a rural road they often end up hitting roadside hazards such as power poles or trees. The most commonly hit roadside hazards in Otago were cliffs or banks, fences and ditches. Striking objects like these can lead to a relatively minor off-road mishap becoming something much more serious.  

“Nearly 70 percent of drivers involved in loss of control crashes on bends or head on crashes in Otago over the past five years were male, with excessive speed and poor handling being major contributors to these crashes. The next most frequent crash type in the region over the last five years, were intersection crashes. These accounted for 3406 crashes in which 14 people were killed and 281 seriously injured. The most common cause of these crashes was poor driver observations of failure to give way or stop.

NZTA crash figures for 2004-2008 for the Otago region show nearly 2,000 crashes involving those under the age of 25 and resulted in 44 deaths and 544 people being seriously injured. Bruce Richards says the total number of injury crashes involving young drivers in the region has fluctuated over the last five years with the 355 crashes last year the lowest in more than five years. What is concerning is that two thirds of those involved in these crashes were males, with 43 percent on either a learner or restricted licence. Just over half were in the 15 to 19 year-old age group. 

Road safety issues reports for each council in the Otago region are available at www.landtransport.govt.nz/performance/index.html(external link)

For more information please contact:

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

Senior Sergeant Steve Larking
Road Policing
T DDI 03 471 4998  
M  021 954 928   
E-mail  Stephen.Larking@police.govt.nz

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