20 Dec 2017

Four fatal crashes overnight

1:29 pm on 20 December 2017

After four deadly crashes overnight, police say they're fed up with having to remind drivers about road safety.

Four people died in separate crashes and commuters have faced delays nationwide after a number of truck breakdowns.

One crash between a car and a logging truck on State Highway 29 in Waikato - between Tirau Road and Taotaoroa Road - killed one person early this morning, police said.

Another person died after a car crashed into a paddock between Switzers Road and Moncurs Road in Clutha about 11pm overnight.

Police said a man also died after a crash at a bridge about 1.50am on Wainakarua Road, Herbert in North Otago.

A fourth death was in Tauranga after a vehicle smashed into a tree about 10.15pm on Pyes Pa Road yesterday.

In Raetihi west of Ohakune, a truck crashed on SH4 at Tohunga Junction and the driver is trapped.

A helicopter has been requested and the driver is in serious to moderate condition, police said.

Road policing manager Steve Greally said police issued the same message to drivers every year, and this year was no different.

"These are all basic, basic things but unfortunately it doesn't take much: just one person who makes a bad call and drives drunk or too fast or without their seatbelt ... or checks their phone.

"It causes carnage for everybody."

The New Zealand Transport Authority said the dramatic rise in the road toll this year was largely due to the lack of seatbelt wearing.

Road safety director Harry Wilson said nearly a third of the people who died on the roads were not wearing belts.

"You think that is a message that people would understand, so at a minimum, please make sure that you buckle up."

Traffic delays

In Auckland, a truck breakdown on the Southern Motorway has been cleared near the Papakura on-ramp, but drivers can expect delays heading north.

A broken down truck in Christchurch was blocking a citybound lane on Yaldhurst Road at the intersection with Russley Road, but it has since been removed and traffic is flowing freely.

And in Tasman, a truck breakdown on SH60 has left a large amount of oil on the road between between Riwaka and Tākaka, near the Aaron Creek Road intersection.

This year's road toll passed 2016's a month ago, and is now the highest since 2010 when 375 people died.

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