12 dead, 1600 crashes over holidays

Twelve people have been killed on the roads over the Christmas holiday period that saw police called to more than 1600 crashes.

The provisional holiday road toll for 2015/2016 was 12 deaths - four fewer than the same period last year.

A man involved in a crash at Whangamata on New Year's Day died in an Auckland hospital last night from his injuries. 

Police urged drivers to keep focused and make the right decisions on the roads this summer.

"If we lose one person to road trauma then that's one too many," national road policing manager Superintendent Steve Greally said.

"While it's encouraging that four more people are alive than last holiday period, it's little comfort to the families and friends of those victims, and to the people who are injured or otherwise traumatised  by these crashes."

Police were called to 1617 crashes around the country during the holiday period which began at 4pm on December 24 and ended at 6am today.

"Drivers making good decisions are crucial to reducing road trauma," Mr Greally said. 

Police said everyone should follow basic safety rules including: checking your speed, driving to the road conditions, avoiding alcohol and taking rest breaks. Everyone in a vehicle shoud wear seatbelts and ensure that children were safely restrained. 

"Most drivers do a great job and we congratulate them for making sound decisions when they're behind the wheel," Mr Greally said 

"It's the mistakes and poor judgement of the risk takers who put the lives of the innocent in danger."

Police would continue to be a presence on the roads over summer, and people should report unsafe driving by calling *555.

Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss also urged drivers to take care.

"While it's encouraging to see the holiday road toll is lower than last year's of 16 - 12 deaths is still 12 too many," Mr Foss said.

"My deepest sympathies go out to anyone who lost a friend or loved one this holiday season."

Mr Foss said many people were still on holiday and driving long distances on unfamiliar roads. It was important to take a little extra care to give everyone the best chance of making it home safe and sound.


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