April bad month for road deaths

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April was the worst month for road deaths in four years, despite a long-term downward trend in road fatalities, police say.

Oamaru Police Sergeant Blair Wilkinson said as part of the Southern District’s response, police in Waitaki were participating in a number of campaigns to reduce road-related trauma.

The campaigns had a particular focus on drink-driving and speed in rural areas, he said.

Assistant commissioner road policing Dave Cliff said April bucked the downward trend with 31 deaths, the worst since 2010, when 42 people died.

The same behaviours of people driving too fast, drinking or not wearing seatbelts were costing too many New Zealanders their lives, he said.

“While the vast majority of road users are doing things right, some are still making all the wrong decisions, with enormous cost to themselves, their families and other innocent road users,” he said.

“So far this year, 102 people have already died, with a third of the year barely over.

“At the current rate, at least another 200 people will die and another 1900 will be hospitalised for more than a day by the time we reach the end of the year unless all of us do our part, whether as drivers, passengers, mates or family.”

He said police and road safety agencies were continuing to target unsafe drivers but people needed to make good choices behind the wheel by buckling their seatbelt, organising a sober driver, or slowing down in the wet.

“Last year, we had a record low number of people killed in crashes, and our road policing staff will do everything in their power to achieve that again.”