So many fa­tal crashes avoid­able

South Waikato News - - NEWS -

Po­lice are urg­ing rev­ellers to plan to get home safely af­ter the death of a Pu­taruru man in a crash last week.

Jonathan Wy­att Burt, 19, died af­ter the Toy­ota four­wheel-drive he was a pas­sen­ger in crashed into the lowlevel bridge at the in­ter­sec­tion of state high­way one and Shake­speare St in the early hours of De­cem­ber 6.

Po­lice want those out en­joy­ing fes­tiv­i­ties to ar­range to get home safely.

‘‘Po­ten­tially nearly half of our fa­tal crashes could have been avoided if driv­ers fol­lowed ba­sics steps such as not drink­ing and driv­ing, and watch­ing their speed,’’ said Waikato district road polic­ing man­ager In­spec­tor Leo Tooman. He said it was a tough call for emer­gency ser­vices to be called away from their own fam­i­lies over the sum­mer to at­tend crashes that ap­pear to be avoid­able.

The ac­ci­dent that killed Mr Burt in­volved ‘‘ ex­ces­sive speed’’ and a driver who had been drink­ing Mr Tooman said. The vic­tim was not wear­ing a seat belt which com­pounded the is­sue. Mr Tooman be­lieved the ac­ci­dent would have been sur­viv­able had Mr Burt been wear­ing a seat belt.

Mr Tooman said far from of­fi­cers be­ing the party poop­ers po­lice en­cour­aged re­spon­si­bly man­aged func­tions.

‘‘But a suc­cess­ful Christ­mas party is not one where those at­tend­ing, and their ve­hi­cles, are writ­ten off. A good func­tion is one where there is plenty of sub­stan­tial food and non-al­co­holic drinks, and ar­range­ments have been made to get ev­ery­one home safely,’’ he said.

‘‘While we ask or­gan­is­ers to ad­here to their host re­spon­si­bil­i­ties we will also be back­ing this up with a highly vis­i­ble polic­ing pres­ence out on our roads this sum­mer.’’

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