A record low holiday road toll has been welcomed but more
efforts are needed to continue to improve road safety, say
police, the Government and the Automobile Association.
Six people died on the roads during the official holiday
period which ran from 4pm on Christmas Eve to 6am today - the
lowest in more than 50 years.
During the Christmas and New Year period last year 19 people
were killed, 65 seriously injured and 335 received minor
Injury statistics for the 2012/13 holiday period will take
several months to finalise.
The lowest road toll recorded previously was 8 in 1959/60.
"This year's holiday toll shows that drivers have been taking
responsibility, and focusing when behind the wheel,"
Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges said.
"However, every fatality and serious injury on the road is a
tragedy for the families and loved ones of those involved.
"It is important we continue to work hard in 2013 to ensure
even fewer suffer the consequences of road death or injury."
AA public affairs spokesman Simon Lambourne said the low
figures should be welcomed, but warned against complacency.
"It's still six people that died on our roads," he said.
The holiday road period began at 4pm on Christmas Eve, but a
lot of holidaymakers travelled on the three days prior - and
three died during that period, he said.
"It's important to put it in perspective. The holiday driving
period was 9.6 days long, and it can be as long as 11.6 days,
so when you compare it to previous years, it is a shorter
than recent years."
And while 307 deaths in 2012 is the second lowest annual road
toll in 60 years, it was still higher than the 284 in 2011.
Mr Lambourne said a lot was being done to improve the safety
of drivers, cars, and roads, but he admitted: "We've still
got a long way to go."
New Zealand Police agreed that while the low road toll was
encouraging, six deaths was nothing to celebrate.
"Of course it's fantastic to see the numbers continuing to
trend down but as our staff know, that's still six people
whose families must be informed of a terrible tragedy," said
national manager of road policing, Superintendent Carey
Even though there are more vehicles on the roads than ever
before, he expects the road toll to continue to fall.
Mr Griffiths says several agencies have united their efforts
under Safer Journeys, the Government's strategy to guide
improvements in road safety over 2010 - 2020.
"Police, Ministry of Transport, New Zealand Transport Agency
and other road safety partners are in this together," he
"We'll be reviewing results so far and working on the next
action plan to make our roads even safer this year."
- Kurt Bayer of APNZ