The 2009 preliminary road toll of 384 compares to 365 deaths in 2008 and 421 in 2007
The number was trending towards more than 400 for the year, until October, November and December all recorded the lowest number of deaths since monthly records began in 1965.
“It’s too early to say just why we have seen an improvement over this last quarter”, Joyce says. “However road safety has been top-of-mind with new laws on cellphone use, drugged driving, and illegal street racing. If that publicity has helped remind people of the responsibility they take on when they drive, then that’s positive.”
Joyce says that the number of serious injuries caused in road crashes remained a big concern.
"In the 12 months from 1 July 2008 to June 30 2009 police reported just over 2500 people seriously injured as a results of road crashes.
“We have seen little progress in reducing the number of serious injuries as a result of road crashes in the last 10 years. That’s another big task ahead of us.”
The government is working to improve road safety through Safer Journeys, a strategy to guide New Zealand to 2020.
“Safer Journeys will set out some immediate actions aimed at reducing the number of deaths and injuries on our roads,” says Joyce.
The strategy is planned for release in February, with initial actions implemented over the next year or two.
Meanwhile, Joyce says the low Christmas holiday period road toll is also encouraging
12 people died on the roads during the official holiday driving period which ran from 4pm on 24 December to 6am on Tuesday 5 January.
During the same period last year 25 people were killed, 82 seriously injured and 373 received minor injuries. Injury statistics for the 2009-2010 holiday period will take several months to finalise.
- 265 males killed to 119 females killed
- The highest number of fatalities occured in April (45)
- 192 drivers were killed compared to 103 passengers
- The most fatalities occured in the 25-39 age group (90)