Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss has released the final road toll for 2015 and the Overseas Drivers in Crashes report for 2000-2015.
“Last year 320 men, women and children died on our roads. These people will forever be missed by their families, friends and communities, and it’s heartbreaking to consider their deaths may have been preventable,” Mr Foss said.
“A few simple actions can, quite literally, be lifesaving — always wear a safety belt or helmet, watch your speed and drive to the conditions.”
The road toll report showed between 2001 and 2014, New Zealand’s vehicle fleet increased by 32 per cent, the population grew by 16 per cent and travel was up by 15 per cent.
“Despite the high number of deaths last year, long-term the road toll is falling, and we all have a responsibility to ensure that continues. I expect to release the Government’s third Safer Journeys Action Plan, which includes a focus on motorcycle safety, soon.”
Mr Foss said the Overseas Drivers in Crashes report provides some valuable context for visiting driver crashes and includes some interesting results.
“We know the number of crashes involving overseas licence holders — less than 6 per cent of all fatal and injury crashes — has stayed relatively constant over the last 10 years when the number of international visitors has increased by about 30 per cent.
“The report shows that very few short-term visitors crash within their first few days in New Zealand, and of those that do crash, fatigue is generally not a contributing factor. Overseas licence holders, including short-term visitors, crash for the same reasons as New Zealand drivers.
“It debunks some common myths, such as visitors, especially those who usually drive on the right-hand side of the road, are crashing because they’re tired after long-haul flights — the data simply doesn’t support this.
“These reports clearly tell us who is crashing, where and why. They will further inform the sector’s ongoing road safety work under the Safer Journeys Strategy and Visiting Driver Signature Project, helping to ensure road safety initiatives are targeted, efficient and effective.”