27 Dec 2012

Boxing Day deaths push holiday road toll to 3

8:46 pm on 27 December 2012

The holiday road toll has risen to three after a 58-year-old man was killed in an accident on State Highway 4, north of Taumaranui.

Police say he was a local man and died at the scene after his car left the road on Boxing Day.

No-one else was injured but one lane of the highway was temporarily closed as the serious crash unit investigated.

On Christmas Day, Rongmei Wang, a 71-year-old Chinese national, was killed in the back seat of a car involved in a collission with a Toyota Hilux on the corner of Te Rapa Road and Avalon Drive at about 12.30pm.

And a 24-year-old Invercargill man Shane Curtis Tosh died early on Boxing Day when his car crashed on Lorne Dacre Road in Southland.

Boxing Day letdown

Police say that it was on Boxing Day last year that motorists finally got the message about holiday road deaths, but that hasn't been the case this year.

Though the day after Christmas is one of the days of the year with the heaviest traffic flows, on Boxing Day 2011 there were no fatalities on the roads.

The national manager of road policing, Carey Griffiths, says last year it seemed as if the stars aligned and everyone for once observed the basics.

Even so, Mr Griffiths says 10 people were seriously injured in car crashes on Boxing Day 2011, so no one can be complacent.

"The focus on fatalities often overshadows the fact that for every person killed there is often 10 or more seriously injured," he says.

"We're talking people with life-long (effects from) injuries - it's important not to lose sight of that".

With more than two dozen additional deaths on the roads over 2012, compared to 2011, he says he'd have liked to have seen the same zero fatalities in this year's post-Christmas traffic.

Across the Tasman, New South Wales had a horror Boxing Day on its roads, with five people dying in crashes, including an elderly couple visiting from Fiji, the ABC reports