The latest NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) road crash figures for Southland for the past five years show that Injury crashes on the regions roads hit a nine year low in 2009.
NZTA road crash figures for Southland from 2005 to 2009 show there were 367 injury road crashes in Southland last year, the lowest number since 2000. In 2009 16 people were killed on Southland roads compared to 12 in 2008. Over the last five years, there have been 55 road fatalities in Southland and over 600 people were seriously injured.
NZTA Otago-Southland Regional Director Bruce Richards says that young drivers, intersection crashes and loss of control crashes on corners are the biggest road safety issues facing the region. Nearly 30 percent of injury crashes between 2005 and 2009 were bend-loss of control crashes. In nearly 80 percent of these crashes a roadside hazard such a fence or ditch was struck. In the last five years these types of crashes have claimed 17 lives and seriously injured 218 people in the region.
“The Safer Journey’s Road Safety Strategy, with its focus on safe vehicles, safe speeds safe road use and safe roadsides, should help reduce the severity of crashes where vehicles leave the road. The safe road and roadsides part of the Strategy will eventually see features such as signage, speed limits and road markings to encourage drivers to travel at speeds appropriate for the design and function of particular roads”.
Mr Richards says intersections crashes feature strongly as one of the major causes of fatal and serious injury road crashes in Southland. Drivers in the 15 to 24 year-old age group accounted for 38 percent of at fault drivers in intersection crashes. Between 2005 and 2009, intersection crashes killed 11people and injured over 1200. The most common causes of these crashes were failing to stop and poor observation skills by the driver.
Over the last five years road crashes involving young drivers claimed 32 lives and seriously 286 people. Poor handling and loss of control on corners were the main causes of injury crashes involving young drivers.
Mr Richards said improving young driver safety is a high priority in the Safer Journey’s Road Safety Strategy. One of the measures in the Strategy to help achieve this involves encouraging young drivers to undertake 120 hours of supervised driving with either a parent, family member or a friend who is an experienced driver. Research show this can help reduce a young person’s risk of crashing by up 40 percent when they begin driving solo.
All Road safety issues reports for the Southland region are available at http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/results.html?catid=201(external link)