Canterbury road fatalities at a 10 year low


The 32 road crash deaths in Canterbury last year is the lowest in a decade and a significant reduction on the 48 people who died on the regions roads in 2008.

Figures released by the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) for the period from 2005 to 2009 show there were 7240 injury crashes in the Canterbury region including 191 fatal crashes and 1487 serious injury crashes. In 2009, 32 people died on the regions roads and 363 were seriously injured. This compares to 48 fatalities and 355 people seriously injured in 2008.

NZTA Canterbury Regional Director Mark Yaxley says while the reduction in road fatalities on Canterbury roads last year is welcomed, fatal and serious injury crashes in the region in the last three years have been higher than pervious years. Intersection along with loss of control/ head on crashes on corners and straight roads, were the major causes of death and serious injury on Canterbury roads.

“Young drivers continue to be highly represented in the regions fatal and serious injury crashes, accounting for nearly a third of the road fatalities. Increasing the safety of young drivers is a top priority in the Safer Journey’s Road Safety Strategy. Measures already in the Strategy to help achieve this include a zero alcohol limit for youth drivers, and encouraging 120 hours of supervised driving practices for learner drivers. Research shows this can reduce a young person’s risk of crashing by up 40 percent when they begin driving solo”.

Intersection crashes were the major type of fatal and serious injury road crashes in Christchurch City with many of these crashes resulting from drivers failing to give way or stop. In the past five years 55 people have been killed in intersection crashes in the Canterbury Region. Straight road and corner loss of control or head on crashes accounted for a high number of fatal and serious injury crashes on rural local roads and state highways. Between 2005 and 2009, these crashes claimed 145 lives in the Canterbury Region.

 Mr Yaxley says the Safer Journey’s Road Safety Strategy with its focus on both the safety of our roads and road sides should help reduce the severity of crashes where vehicle leave the road. Work will be carried out so eventually features such as signage, speed limits and road markings encourage drivers to travel at speeds appropriate for the design and function of particular roads.

Latest NZTA crash figures show that over the past five years 36 motorcyclists died on Canterbury roads. About 70 percent of the regions motorcycle crashes were in urban areas.

Road safety issues reports for all Canterbury local authorities can be found at link).