Southern toll lowest since 2005

Last year had the second-lowest annual road toll for the Southern police district in the past 14 years, a result which has pleased the man in charge of policing the South's roads.

Twenty-three people died in 2011, eight fewer than the previous year. It was the second-lowest road toll since 1997.

The district's lowest annual road toll was in 2005 when 22 people died.

Acting road policing manager Senior Sergeant Steve Larking said the lower toll in the Southern district, as well as nationally, was the result of the combined efforts of road safety partners.

"We can't say it is just enforcement or just police but we would like to think we are certainly playing a part in it.

"It is important when we do have a good success we don't get too complacent about it, but this is a good news story."

Preliminary figures released by police reveal there were 80 vehicle crashes resulting in injuries in the district over the official Christmas period from 4pm on December 23, 2011 to 8am on Wednesday, January 4.

This represented a 17% drop compared with the same period last year.

Snr Sgt Steve Larking said the statistics could not show all the accidents that had been prevented because of the work that had gone into road safety.

"If we stop someone on the side of the road who is drunk . . . who knows if we haven't had stopped them they could have driven on and killed you.

"With the statistics trending down, hopefully our work is having an impact."

While he would not be drawn on whether a zero road toll for the region could be achieved, the aim was to make the roads safer for everyone.

"Crashes are trending downwards, and not just the fatalities, but the key message is don't be complacent."

People who were returning from their summer break were urged to drive carefully within the speed limits, plan their journey, be patient and take their time.

- hamish.mcneilly@odt.co.nz

 

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