Too many lives lost on roads

Taupo Times - - AND QUIRKY HALLOWEEN PIC’S OUR NATIONAL BIRD - STEPH RANGI

The Taupo¯ and South Waikato is star­ing down the bar­rel of one of its worst ever years for road deaths and po­lice say the main cause seems to be fa­tigue.

The death of a mo­tor­cy­clist near Tu­rangi last week brought the re­gion’s [Tu­rangi-Ti­rau] road toll to 22 this year, in­clud­ing last month’s quadru­ple fa­tal­ity ac­ci­dent on State High­way 1 be­tween Taupo¯ and Toko­roa.

Road Polic­ing Man­ager for the Taupo¯ area Fane Troy said fa­tigue was thought to be a cause in many of the ac­ci­dents.

‘‘We keep re­peat­ing our­selves and we will keep re­peat­ing our­selves be­cause those are the causes of our crashes,’’ Fane Troy, Road Polic­ing Man­ager for the Taupo¯ area, said.

Other com­mon causes of ac­ci­dents have been dis­tracted driv­ers, not wear­ing a seat belt and driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol.

‘‘One of the big causes, which is hard to mea­sure, is fa­tigue. We know it plays a big fac­tor in our crashes, it’s just some­thing that’s not eas­ily mea­sured.’’

He said by the time some­one comes from Auck­land they have al­ready driven three hours and four hours if they were com­ing from Welling­ton.

‘‘With the way things are go­ing on the road we could be look­ing at a record road toll for all the wrong rea­sons,’’ he said.

‘‘The high­est road toll we’ve had for this area is 30. Go­ing back five years ago there were only seven deaths. Over the past five years there have been be­tween 7-12.’’

Of the 18 fa­tal crashes, all but two hap­pened on state high­ways and all but one oc­curred in 100km/h ar­eas. Two crashes in­volved many pa­tients and Troy cred­ited fire and am­bu­lance ser­vices for the way they han­dled them.

AWARE­NESS ❚ Taupo¯ Po­lice en­cour­age em­ploy­ers to pro­vide trans­port for their staff at Christ­mas par­ties, es­pe­cially if al­co­hol is be­ing pro­vided. ❚ Plan a jour­ney in ad­vance, al­low plenty of time and take stops at least ev­ery two hours. ❚ Make sure your ve­hi­cle and trailer are suit­able for trav­el­ling. Get your ve­hi­cle checked be­fore long jour­neys. ❚ Wear seat­belts, don’t drive dis­tracted or un­der the in­flu­ence. Drive re­freshed. ❚ Check car seat ex­piry dates. If un­sure con­tact Taupo¯ Par­ents Cen­tre or Plun­ket.

The re­gion’s road toll has soared.

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