Most of Waitaki's state highways are getting safer, latest New Zealand Road Assessment Programme risk maps show.
In 2008 State Highway 1 from Oamaru to Dunedin had the third-highest collective risk and the 10th-highest personal risk in Otago and was named 25th-highest personal risk in the country. The 108.9km medium to high-risk stretch was the scene of 73 serious-injury crashes and seven fatal crashes between 2002 and 2006.
The latest New Zealand Road Assessment Programme (KiwiRAP) risk maps, compiled over 2007 to 2011, show a significant reduction in the number of serious and fatal crashes on the local state highway network.
Between 2007 and 2011, there were 34 serious crashes and five fatalities. The collective and personal risk of SH1 from Timaru to Oamaru remained the same, while the personal risk on SH82 from Kurow to SH1 rose from low to high.
SH82 from Kurow to SH1 had eight serious crashes, compared with only two in the last analysis, while the 75.4km stretch of road from Timaru to Oamaru recorded 20 serious crashes and 10 fatalities from 2007 to 2011.
The KiwiRAP measures more than 11,000km of state highways, assessing crash risks and identifying high-risk roads. The results mean the personal-risk level, a measure of the danger to each individual using the state highway, has fallen from high to the low-medium range for 2007 to 2011. Collective risk, a measure of the total number of fatal and serious-injury crashes per kilometre, has also fallen from medium-high to medium.
Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean welcomed news that Waitaki's state highways were getting safer. KiwiRAP was proving an effective tool to help identify road-risk levels so engineering, investment and enforcement efforts could be better targeted to the risk each road posed.
"While there has been a huge improvement, there is still work to do. The Government's Safer Journeys strategy is focused on improving road safety across the whole of New Zealand," she said.
Nationwide the results also show a decrease of more than 15 per cent in fatal and serious-injury crashes on rural state highways.
"While government and other agencies are working hard to improve the state highway network, drivers also need to play their part. This means paying attention when you're behind the wheel, driving to the conditions, and taking extra care on high-risk roads.
"We all need to continue to take responsibility for road safety."