Fatal crash on SH3
Taranaki has recorded the worst number of road deaths in nine years after a driver was killed in a head-on crash early yesterday morning.
The collision, on State Highway 3 under the railway overbridge near the intersection with Rugby Rd, Tariki, south of Inglewood, was reported about 6.30am.
One of the drivers died at the scene while the other was taken by St John ambulance to Taranaki Base Hospital in a stable condition.
It was the 17th death on the region’s roads in 2018 equalling the total for 2009 with 25 days to go. In 2004, 19 people were killed in crashes on Taranaki roads.
Senior Constable Doug Peach said the northbound vehicle ‘‘for some unknown reason crossed the centreline and collided with the southbound vehicle’’ but police have not revealed what car the dead driver was travelling in.
The crash is being investigated by the police Serious Crash Unit and the highway was closed while emergency services worked at the scene. Diversions were in place.
Taranaki area commander Inspector Keith Borrell said the death was a timely reminder for drivers as the holiday period approached.
‘‘One person dying on Taranaki’s or New Zealand’s roads is one too many,’’ Borrell said.
‘‘We don’t want another another family to be without a family member this Christmas due to another fatality on our roads.’’
Borrell said police wanted
everybody using the roads to make a concerted effort to keep each other safe.
‘‘We want them to show respect for each road user and their right to get to their destination safely. The decisions we make as a driver not only impact on ourselves but on every other road user as well.
‘‘Make sure you drive to the conditions, wear your seatbelt, put your phone down and never drive when you are impaired which includes alcohol, drugs or fatigue.’’
He encouraged anyone travelling long distances to take regular breaks and to share the driving responsibilities where possible.
Borrell said police would be out in force during the holiday period patrolling the region’s roads and trying to prevent fatal and serious injury crashes but stressed officers couldn’t do it alone.
‘‘We need the public’s help to achieve this.’’
Peach described the conditions at the time of the crash as ‘‘treacherous’’.
‘‘It was apparent to police on the way to the crash that the public were not driving to the conditions,’’ he said.
There was a build up of water in the northbound lane and either side of the overbridge had orange warning signs. Each sign had a lower section that could reveal the word ‘flooding’, however it was not displayed at the time.
Anthony Mills, KiwiRail general manager operations – Lower North Island, said the bridge had been inspected following the crash and had been cleared for use. ‘‘Following standard practice the first train to use the bridge travelled over it at a reduced speed, but no on-going restrictions are expected,’’ Mills said.
The collision took place on SH3 under the railway overbridge near the intersection with Rugby Rd, Tariki.