Bad driving leads to carnage
Poor driving on Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes roads contributed to 38 crashes and 300 traffic complaints over the holiday period.
Between 4pm December 24 and 6am January 4, police in the wider Southern District dealt with a total of 488 traffic complaints and 54 crashes, including two fatals.
Cromwell man Scott MacKenzie was one of those killed during the holiday period after crashing into a fence in the early hours of December 29.
The road toll has kept climbing into the new year, including the deaths last week of two more people on the region’s roads.
A Chinese pedestrian was killed on Thursday crossing state highway 8 near Alexandra.
A Swiss motorcyclist was also killed on Cardrona Valley Road on January 6.
Acting southern district road policing manager Senior Sergeant Steve Larking said traffic flows over the holiday period were ‘‘very heavy’’ and while police in the district were generally happy with the driving, two motorcyclists died.
‘‘This is two people too many and two families who are now grieving.
‘‘We cannot stress enough the importance of taking the road safety messages from police and other organisations seriously.’’
Drivers took unnecessary risks and regularly travelled at speeds above the speed limits.
A large number of drivers appeared to view the open road speed limit at 110kmh, not 100kmh.
‘‘This is extremely disappointing as it means that people are not driving to the conditions and are putting themselves, their passengers and other road users at risk of serious injury or death in a crash.
‘‘We know that speed, and the appropriate restraints, have the biggest effect on the outcome of a crash.’’ The majority of traffic complaints related to poor driving on the roads.
This included vehicles driving at speed, crossing centre-lines, unsafe passing manoeuvres or weaving within their lanes.
‘‘Police responded to a large number of these complaints and they were dealt with at the time, thankfully before they resulted in tragic outcomes.’’
The 4kmh threshold for speed remains in force until the end of January.