23 Apr 2019

Three road deaths over Easter, down from previous seven

10:10 am on 23 April 2019

A person has died after a crash north of Gisborne early this morning, bringing the road toll for the Easter holiday period to three.

Police generic

Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

The crash happened about 5.30am on SH35 north of Gisborne between Waiapu and Waiau Road, near Anaura Bay.

They said no one else appeared to be injured from the crash, and the road would be closed for some time.

The death brings the number of fatalities from crashes during the official Easter holiday road toll period to three.

There were two other crashes over the long weekend. One died in a single-car crash in Huntly on Sunday evening, and one in Awakino on the west coast of southern Waikato on Monday afternoon.

Two other people have been critically injured and one seriously injured in other crashes - including one last night in Waipawa in Hawke's Bay.

Seven people died on the roads last Easter.

The official holiday road toll period ended at 6am. NZ Police road policing operations manager Peter McKinnie told Morning Report the end of the official holiday period was no reason to be complacent.

"For the most part people are getting it right," he said. "But tragically three people have been killed and won't be returning home to their family and many more have been seriously injured."

"It's not a time for complacency now that the Easter period is over, we've still got the school holidays and Anzac Day on Thursday so a lot of people still on holiday and the roads are no place to be complacent at any time of the year."

He said holidays were a more dangerous time.

"There does tend to be a lot more traffic on the highway network at a concentrated period of time ... therefore if someone makes a mistake, and drifts over to the wrong side of the road, for instance, then there's more chance that there's gonna be someone coming the other way at the same time."

He said the key messages for road safety remained the same: wear seatbelts, stay alert, avoid drugs and alcohol and avoid distraction.

"Tragically, one of the people killed over the weekend wasn't wearing a seatbelt.

"Drugs is an interesting one at this time of year when there's a lot of flus going around. You've got to be careful with that sort of medication as well, and the impacts of illness.

"If your passengers are falling asleep then it's perhaps a good sign that it's time for you to take a break as well.

"The fatal crashes all occurred on roads with 100km/h speed limits and no protective barriers, so in that environment people just need to take a lot of extra care because the room for error is very minimal on those roads."

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