26 Oct 2021

Labour weekend road toll equal worst in a decade

12:24 pm on 26 October 2021

New Zealand has equalled its worst Labour weekend road death toll in a decade, with eight fatalities.

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Photo: RNZ / Tim Brown

A person was killed in a crash at the Ruapana Raceway on Sunday but the death is not included in the road toll.

Last year there were also eight deaths over Labour weekend.

AA Road Safety spokesman Dylan Thomsen says it's tragic and this year should count as one of the country's worst Labour weekend road tolls because of how many people are currently in Covid-19 lockdowns.

He says it's a terrible result when there would have been less people moving about New Zealand.

The road toll was very disappointing, police inspector Peter McKennie told Morning Report.

"My heart goes out to all loved ones who have tragically lost loved ones over the holiday period."

Most crashes are the result of mistakes being made rather than extreme behaviour, he said.

"None of us are immune from the risk, it's a matter of just remaining focused at all times when you're driving or otherwise on or around the roads and driving in a manner, and at a speed, which enables you to react safely when the unexpected happens."

He said investigations are currently underway into the cause of the crashes at the weekend but there tends to be more than one factor involved.

"Speed is a factor in every single crash, in terms of impact speed.

"A lot of people don't recognise that even your five star rated vehicles, when everyone's strapped in, still are only designed to protect occupants at speeds up to 70km an hour for a frontal impact crash."

"People need to be able to drive at a speed and in a manner that enables them to get down to a survival speed when the unexpected happens in front of them."

As the weather warms up, there tends to be more motorbikes on the road.

McKennie said it's important to look twice for motorbikes.

"Motorcyclists are more vulnerable, they don't have the same protection as people have within cars so it's a matter of everyone on the road sharing the road and being aware of everyone else around them."

For every person killed, there are about seven people seriously injured, he said.

"Some of those are life changing injuries for them and their families."

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