Bad driv­ing leads to car­nage

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - JO MCKENZIE-MCLEAN

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.

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