Coastal Otago road toll triples

Road deaths in the coastal Otago area have tripled compared with last year, and the prevention message does not seem to be getting through, the officer in charge of road policing in the area says.

The death this week of a man in Fryatt St, Dunedin, has brought to nine the number of deaths on roads in the Otago Coastal policing area, which includes Dunedin.

That is compared with three deaths in the area last year.

Southern police district road policing manager Inspector Amelia Steel said people were driving while impaired or distracted, which was adding to the toll.

''Nine deaths on Otago coastal roads is nine too many.

''The impact associated with any death - particularly deaths which have resulted from preventable behaviours such as excessive speed, not wearing a seatbelt, consumption of alcohol or drugs or distraction - is traumatic.''

Across all of the Southern district there were 22 deaths in 2018.

So far this year, there have been 18 road deaths.

Extra precautions were needed over Labour Weekend, when an increased number of people would be travelling, Insp Steel said.

''Wear a seatbelt, don't speed and don't drive while distracted or impaired.''

Extra staff would be rostered on and checkpoints would be in place across the district over the long weekend.

A national police operation, Operation Five, was launched in 2018, with the aim of reducing the number of road deaths in New Zealand by 5% each year.

The operation was so far on track this year, as the number of deaths nationally was down 10% as of yesterday morning, she said.

emma.perry@odt.co.nz

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