3 Jan 2019

Holiday period road crashes kill nine people

11:09 am on 3 January 2019

Nine people have been killed on the roads over the holiday period.

A policeman inspects a road after a crash.

Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter says many serious deaths and injuries on New Zealand roads are preventable. Photo: 123RF

The official Christmas-New Year holiday period began at 4pm on December 24 and ran until 6am this morning.

Last year, 12 people died on the roads over the break, but the holiday period was slightly longer.

The lowest recorded holiday road toll was six, back in 2012-2013.

The associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter said the holiday deaths were yet another reminder of the need to make substantial improvements to road safety.

"Many deaths and serious injuries on our roads are preventable," she said.

$1.4 billion has already been committed over three years to make urgent safety improvements to high-risk roads.

They will include more median and side barriers and rumble strips.

This year the Government will be consulting on the new road safety strategy and action plan, Ms Genter said.

The Automobile Association's Mike Noon

The Automobile Association's Mike Noon is urging drivers to take care as they return from holiday. Photo: RNZ/Philippa Tolley

Mike Noon from the AA said road safety messages were starting to seep through to the general public.

But with people continuing to return home from holiday over the next few days, he was urging drivers to take care on the roads.

"Take it easy out there, keep a good, safe speed, keep a good following distance, don't get on your cellphone, make sure you have lots of breaks for the kids - we want you to get home safe, that's the goal," Mr Noon said.

The government's emphasis on improving road safety needed to continue and even be ramped up, he said.

"Drivers make mistakes and the roads and the protection offered by the cars delivers the consequences of those mistakes.

"So if you make a mistake on a road that in unforgiving, has ditches, powerpoles, trees, and is undivided, then the consequences of that are very, very severe, so we absolutely have to keep investing and invest more."

2018 ended with the road toll at 380 - two more than in 2017.

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