National | Accident

NZ Road Toll reaches 297 deaths

Police are urging drivers to be extra vigilant on the roads with the long weekend approaching. It follows 13 deaths on the roads in a 72 hour period. 20 others are also seriously injured.

Superintendent Steve Greally says the current road toll is the worst he's seen in the two and half years he's been in his role.

National Manager for Road Policing says, "It really comes down to decision making, it really does. We just want people to slow down."

To date 297 people have died on the road this year - that's more than 40 ahead of this time last year.

"There's a lot of reasons why the road toll has gone up in New Zealand over the last four years. And there are a lot of reasons, infrastructure, there are the speed limits on our roads, there are more people on our roads. We've still got people making stupid decisions, around speed you know - not driving for the conditions."
Steven Greally also says new technology in cars can mitigate road accidents but the responsibility remains with drivers.

"We've got some new cars, we've got some new technology that's coming in and that sort of mitigates a little bit, but really what we need is for people to make better decisions on the roads. And if we get that right as a country that road toll will go right down."

Police say a reduced speed enforcement threshold will be in place during Labour weekend as speed is a big factor in about 30% of fatal accidents.

Photo Credit: Phillips Search and Rescue Trust