A top road cop is urging drivers to take care as they head
home from holiday today following four fatal crashes in as
Three people have died in crashes this weekend, bringing this
year's road toll to four.
Police said one person was killed when a car crashed into a
tree and burst into flames in Bay of Plenty this morning. The
fatality came after two people died in separate crashes
yesterday, and a motorcyclist was killed on Thursday.
Assistant Commissioner of Road Policing, Dave Cliff, said any
death was too many and this year's road toll was already "a
terrible waste of human life".
He urged drivers returning from holiday destinations to take
care on the roads today.
Traffic was likely to be congested on the roads into Auckland
from Coromandel and Northland today, so drivers needed to be
patient and accept it would take longer to get home.
"You're better to arrive safe and uninjured than try and rush
and never get home at all," he said.
"The weather is terrible, so the simple reminders about
turning headlights on - you still see people with no lights
or driving with park lights, which are completely useless."
Mr Cliff said drivers needed to keep speeds down and increase
following distances so they had more time to stop on wet
Drivers should also make sure the road ahead was clear before
overtaking other traffic.
"Probably the most dangerous thing people will be doing is
overtaking. Overtaking typically involves driving on the
wrong side of the road at speed."
This morning's fatality was the second this weekend involving
a car crashing into a tree. Police said the driver, who was
the only person in the car, was dead when emergency services
arrived at the scene on Thornton Rd, just north of Whakatane,
Firefighters extinguished the flames, which had engulfed the
car, and were helping police with their investigation.
Yesterday morning, 38-year-old Georgina Rawinia Rikiti died
in hospital after the car she was driving crashed into a tree
on Astley Ave in New Lynn, Auckland.
Police said a serious crash unit investigation was expected
to take several weeks.
Last night, a man was killed when his motorcycle collided
with a car on State Highway 1 in Waikato.
Police said the car's occupants were treated for non-life
threatening injuries after the crash near Taupiri about 10pm.
The police serious crash unit was investigating.
Another motorcyclist was "very lucky" to have survived a
collision with a bus on a railway overbridge in Horowhenua
yesterday, police said.
The man suffered moderate injuries to his lower back and cuts
to his body after the crash on SH1 near Whakahoro Rd about
4.20pm. Nobody in the bus was reported injured.
A total of 18 people died in January last year - the lowest
toll for the month on record, and 16 fewer than the average
January toll for the past five years.
Figures comparing this year's road toll with the same time
last year are not yet available.
The first fatality this year, on Thursday, added to the
official holiday road toll. Seven people, including two
children, died between 4pm on Christmas Eve and 6am on
Last year's annual road toll of 254 was the lowest in the
past 60 years.
ROAD FATALITIES THIS YEAR
* One person was killed after a car crashed into a tree and
burst into flames north of Whakatane this morning
* A man was killed after his motorcycle collided with a car
on SH1 near Taupiri, between Huntly and Ngaruawahia in
Waikato, last night
* Georgina Rawinia Rikiti, 38, died in hospital after her car
crashed into a tree in New Lynn, west Auckland, yesterday
* Havelock North man Norman John Lessells, 52, died in
hospital after his motorcycle collided with a light truck
east of Taihape on Thursday.
- Matthew Backhouse of APNZ