Labour Day road toll already surpassing 2019

Four people have died on New Zealand roads since the Labour weekend started, surpassing last year's toll for the entire holiday period.

The latest fatal accident involved a pedestrian who died after being struck by a vehicle on SH3 at Westmere, in the Whanganui district.

The road remains closed and diversions are in place.

Police enquiries are ongoing to both identify the person's next of kin and understand the circumstances of the crash.

After confirming the latest death, National Road Policing Manager, Acting Superintendent Gini Welch made an appeal for motorists to look after each other on the roads.

Welch said there had been a "devastating start" to Labour weekend.

"Our frontline staff have attended four fatal crashes across the country since the official weekend period began at 4pm yesterday.

"We have also responded to a number of other serious crashes which have resulted in significant injuries to those involved.

"While it is too early to talk about the cause of these crashes, we will continue to relentlessly remind people we all have a part to play to keep our roads safe.

"With high volumes of traffic on our roads this long weekend, we implore you to keep your speeds down, pay attention to your surroundings and the conditions, and watch your following distances to ensure you arrive alive.

"Most people behave safely on the roads most of the time, but it only takes one risky decision or moment of inattention to result in tragedy. Ultimately, the actions of every driver and rider makes a difference."

Earlier, one person died after a crash near Gisborne overnight on Whatatutu Rd, Te Karaka, around 2am.

And a motorcyclist died after a serious crash around 5pm on Main Rd North (State Highway 2), Timberlea, Upper Hutt, yesterday.

Police have also revealed one person has died after a two-car collision on Tekapo-Twizel Rd (SH8) about 3km west of Lake Tekapo township.

Three people in a second car have been airlifted to hospital with moderate injuries. The crash took place around 9am.

The road is blocked and motorists should expect extensive delays. An alternative route is through Waimate to Kurow. Police did not know the injury status of those involved.

One person, a motorcyclist, died during the Labour Day weekend holiday period last year, according to Ministry of Transport data.

The weekend period started at 4pm yesterday and runs until 6am on Tuesday.

Police say inquiries are underway in relation to both the Te Karaka and Timberlea crashes.

NZ Police Acting Superintendent Gini Welch says buckling up and driving at a safe speed are two "must-do's" for safe holiday journeys.

"This is our first long weekend since June, and with travel restricted to our own backyard, there will be more traffic on our roads. More traffic means more risk, just by sheer volume.

"You're on holiday; no need to rush."

This year's road toll

The road toll for the entire year between January 1 and October 22 is 251, lower than last year when there were 271 deaths in the same timeframe.

A total of 121 drivers have been killed, more than any other kind of road user this year.

The number of males who have died far outweighs the number of females killed on our roads - 183 compared to 68.

The 60+ age bracket has had the most deaths overall at 71.

During Labour weekend in 2018, there were four fatal crashes and 130 reported injury crashes, resulting in five deaths, 33 serious injuries and 155 minor injuries.

The five deaths were two drivers, two passengers, and a motorcycle rider.

"Over half [53 per cent] of the crashes occurred on the urban road," the ministry's website says of the 2018 crashes.

"Forty per cent of crashes were single-vehicle crashes in which a driver lost control or ran off the road, 28 per cent were intersection collisions, 10 per cent were rear-ended or collisions with obstruction crashes, and 5 per cent were head-on collisions."

"The most commonly cited contributing factors for crashes over Labour weekend were poor position on the road (28 per cent), losing control (22 per cent), travelling too fast for conditions (21 per cent), failing to give way or stop (20 per cent), and alcohol and drugs (14 per cent)."

There is no record of injuries for the 2019 Labour weekend.


Add a Comment

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter