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Too many drivers losing control on West Coast roads

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Drivers failing to control their vehicles on corners, or crashing head on with another vehicle, were the major causes of deaths and injuries on West Coast roads in the past five years.

Drivers failing to control their vehicles on corners, or crashing head on with another vehicle, were the major causes of deaths and injuries on West Coast roads in the past five years.

Crash figures released by the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) for the period from 2004 to 2008 show there were 320 crashes of this type that caused 20 deaths and seriously injured 110 people. Over the same period 34 people were killed on West Coast roads and 187 seriously injured. In 2008 seven people died on the regions roads with 26 seriously injured, this compares to 6 fatalities and 38 people seriously injured in 2007.

NZTA Canterbury - West Coast Regional Director Mark Yaxley says once a driver loses control of their vehicle on rural roads they tend to end up hitting roadside hazards such as power poles or trees. Striking objects like these can lead to a relatively minor off-road mishap becoming something far more serious. The NZTA helps fund safety improvements such as installing safety barriers and road widening on the regions local roads and state highways.

“Over 70 percent of at-fault drivers involved in loss of control crashes on bends or head on crashes on the West Coast in the past five years were male with alcohol and speed being major contributors to these crashes.

Driving too fast for the conditions was the next most common cause of crashes in the region, accounting for 165 crashes in the past five years. These resulted in 8 deaths and seriously injured 55 people. One third of those involved in these crashes were 15-24 year-old males, who had been either driving too fast or drinking.

NZTA crash figures for 2004-2008 for the West Coast region show there were 121 crashes involving overseas drivers including both tourists and New Zealand residents driving on an overseas licence. These resulted in 7 deaths and serious injuries to 53 people. Around 65 percent of the crashes involved loss of control on a corner or hitting another vehicle head on. Around 70 percent of at fault drivers in these crashes were male.

Road safety issues reports for district councils in the West Coast 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

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

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