Road toll up as seat­belt wear­ing falls

Taranaki Daily News - - News - KATIE KENNY

More Ki­wis are dy­ing on the roads be­cause they are ne­glect­ing to buckle up, po­lice say.

The num­ber of peo­ple killed on New Zealand roads while not wear­ing re­straints has nearly dou­bled over the past two years, as­sis­tant com­mis­sioner of road polic­ing Dave Cliff said. He de­scribed those deaths as ‘‘en­tirely pre­ventable’’.

Be­tween 2012 and 2014, there were about 57 deaths each year associated with non-re­straint use. In 2015, that num­ber nearly dou­bled, reach­ing 92. Last year, it in­creased again, to 100.

All po­lice dis­tricts this year would be putting ex­tra fo­cus on en­sur­ing seat­belts are worn, Cliff said.

‘‘We are at a loss to un­der­stand why there has been such a mas­sive in­crease in peo­ple not wear­ing their seat­belts.

‘‘No part of New Zealand is im­mune. Crashes oc­cur on our roads from one end of the coun­try to the other and any­one who chooses not to wear a seat­belt only in­creases their risk of in­jury or death if they end up in one.’’

In 2016, the seat­belt wear­ing rate for driv­ers and adult front seat pas­sen­gers was 96.5 per cent, down from the 97.1 per cent ob­served in 2014 – and the first time there has been a re­duc­tion in the wear­ing rate since 1996.

Of par­tic­u­lar con­cern, Cliff said, was the in­creased num­ber of fe­males killed in crashes while not wear­ing a seat­belt. Fe­males made up 19 per cent of deaths in 2012, and 28 per cent in 2016.

‘‘If peo­ple don’t lis­ten up and get the mes­sage in 2017, we will likely see more than 100 peo­ple lose their lives and thou­sands more be in­jured com­pletely need­lessly. All this can be pre­vented by tak­ing two sec­onds to put on your seat­belt, it’s that easy.’’

Wear­ing a seat­belt re­duces the risk of death by half for those in front seats, and 75 per cent for back seat pas­sen­gers, he said.

Caro­line Perry, di­rec­tor of road safety char­ity Brake, said wear­ing a seat­belt is ‘‘one of the most ba­sic steps you can take’’ to re­duce the risk of death or in­jury in the case of a car crash.

’’As a char­ity that sup­ports bereaved fam­i­lies we see the dev­as­ta­tion that road crashes cause.’’

Since Novem­ber 2013, all child pas­sen­gers up to 7 years of age have to be in an ap­pro­pri­ate child re­straint.

The pro­vi­sional road toll for 2016 is 326. The road toll for 2015 was 319.

– Fair­fax NZ The Hawke’s Bay Re­gional Prison was in lock­down yes­ter­day morn­ing be­cause of a bomb scare . Po­lice were called to the prison at 9.30am fol­low­ing a threat­en­ing call about an ‘‘item of con­cern’’, po­lice said. The prison was placed into lock­down as emer­gency ser­vices scoured the site. Just af­ter 1.30pm Cor­rec­tions con­firmed no item was found on the site and the prison was no longer in lock­down.

For the first time since the earth­quake, a train will be able to head south to Lake Grass­mere on Mon­day af­ter ex­ten­sive re­pairs to the Main North Line. The job fac­ing en­gi­neers and track gangs to re­pair the 347-kilo­me­tre stretch of rail be­tween Pic­ton and Christchurch has been de­scribed as the big­gest in gen­er­a­tions. More than 150 kilo­me­tres of the line was dam­aged in the Novem­ber earth­quake, which twisted rail­way tracks, sent slips over the route and caused struc­tural dam­age to bridges and tun­nels. Ki­wiRail would be run­ning a test train to Lake Grass­mere on Mon­day, the first time a train had been fur­ther south than Spring Creek, north of Blen­heim, since the earth­quake. No es­ti­mate was avail­able for when the key freight link would be up and run­ning

Strong winds reignited a bush fire near Queen­stown, briefly forc­ing the road to close only 30 min­utes af­ter it opened. Six he­li­copters were back in the air at 4.30pm yes­ter­day to fight the rekin­dled 150-hectare fire on a hill­side near Queen­stown. The blaze be­gan about 11.30pm on Tues­day, forc­ing au­thor­i­ties to close the road be­tween Queen­stown and Glenorchy. It re­opened mid-af­ter­noon, clos­ing briefly as the flames reignited, be­fore re­open­ing again about 4.30pm. Queen­stown po­lice be­lieve the fire started at a Rat Point lake­side camp­ing area. The fire reached a 100m high ridge­line.

A ‘‘se­vere’’ earth­quake shook Welling­ton and the up­per South Is­land at 1.19pm yes­ter­day. The 5.1 mag­ni­tude shake was cen­tred 15 kilo­me­tres east of Sed­don, at a depth of 11km. GeoNet ini­tially rated the quake as strong. It was later up­graded to se­vere. GeoNet duty seis­mol­o­gist Anna Kaiser said it was an after­shock from the Novem­ber quake. ‘‘It’s been a very busy place. This is part of the nor­mal and ex­pected be­hav­iour of after­shock se­quences.’’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.