Increase in southern road toll disappoints police

Deaths on Otago roads last year were the highest in six years.

Nineteen people died on Otago roads in 2014, up five on the previous year and the highest since 2008 when 21 people died.

The Ministry of Transport figures also show 12 people died on Southland roads - the highest tally since 2010.

The provinces recorded a combined toll of 31, the highest since 2008, when 33 people died.

''Southern Police are disappointed with the 2014 provisional figures,'' acting road policing manager Senior Sergeant Geoff Sutherland said.

He was particularly disappointed with the provisional Southland figures, from two deaths in 2013 to 12 last year.

Police wanted to do more analysis on the 2014 figures before commenting on crashes involving foreign drivers, or the number of multiple fatality crashes.

''Although a number of crashes in 2014 involved visiting drivers, most crashes in 2014 have involved local drivers,'' he said.

Of the 24 fatal crashes last year, four involved visiting drivers.

''In general terms, most often the reason for crashes ... is poor driver behaviour,'' Snr Sgt Sutherland said.

Police would continue to remind drivers to drive safely within the maximum speed limits, not to drink and drive, and to have ''patience and consideration for other road users''.

Of the 31 Southern road deaths, 23 were male and eight were female.

Passengers accounted for 12 of those deaths, drivers nine, pedestrians five, motorcyclists four, with one ''other''.

That death was Garry William Voorkamp (53), killed in a rural grader accident at Lumsden on September 24.

The oldest were two 92-year-old pedestrians in Dunedin, while the youngest were two 17-year-olds - a passenger in Dunedin and a driver in Central Otago. Of the 31 deaths, 12 were in multiple fatality crashes.

The 2014 road toll increased by seven during a horror November on the district's roads, followed by May and April, four each.

Nationally, 298 people died on the country's roads in 2014, up from 254 the previous year.


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