14 Jan 2019

Tonga suffers worst road toll in a decade

12:58 pm on 14 January 2019

Twenty-one people died on Tonga roads in 2018, highest road toll in 10 years.

The Central Police Station in Tonga's capital, Nuku'alofa.

Photo: RNZI/Gareth Thomas

Acting Police Chief Superintendent Tevita Vailea told the Tonga Broadcasting Commission that the number of deaths "could have been avoided".

Alcohol has been blamed for more than 80 percent of the fatal crashes last year.

Mr Vailea said police also believed illicit drugs could have been a contributing factor.

Mr Vailea warned that police would continue to be out in force focusing on excessive speeding, drink driving, and license checks during the year.

He has asked parents to sit down with their children and have a conversation around road safety rules.

Six people died on the roads in 2017, the lowest in 12 years and there were 18 deaths the year before that.