Police praise public for halving of Waikato road toll
Police praise public and partners for halving of Waikato road toll but say any death is one too many
Better and more are two words Waikato Police are using to describe why the District's road toll this year is half that of 2012.
Acting District Road Policing Manager, Senior Sergeant Kevin Anderson, said while 22 people dying on Waikato roads this year was still far too many, it was still a vast improvement on the 44 that died the year before.
"We can put this down to better safety features in vehicles, better driver behaviour, better enforcement on our roads and vast improvements through our partner agencies to our roading network."
Mr Anderson said the public and media can take a lot of pride in the change in perceptions about road safety.
"Drivers have become noticeably more engaged in road safety and are becoming less accepting of poor driver behaviour and this is being reflected over this summer with an increase in reports to Police about bad driving.
"We also need to acknowledge the work of those in the health sector who are saving more lives but that in turn means we are seeing more people suffering serious injuries from road trauma requiring more time to rehabilitate."
On average Waikato Hospital deals with about 250 people suffering from major injuries as a result of road trauma annually.
"After a crash scene is cleaned up and the injured taken to hospital the average cost of a major trauma case is $3-6,000 per day and an average 14 day stay in intensive care is about $50,000 before you factor in additional surgery, nursing care and rehabilitation.
"Other factors that can impact on a patient's recovery are a loss of earnings, ongoing rehabilitation, the effect on enjoyment of life and a victim's employment and the loss of physical abilities, so there's plenty of incentive for drivers to maintain their safe approach to driving Waikato roads."
Mr Anderson said the second lowest road toll recorded in the Waikato Police District was in 2002 when 39 deaths were recorded but for those people who have lost a loved one this year the lowered road toll will have a hollow ring.
"We need to take cognisance of those who have died and of those who have suffered serious injury. One of the most tragic things about road trauma is the fact that it is all so avoidable.
"With thousands of holiday makers having left the cities for spots on both Waikato coasts, the single biggest issue Police have faced so far is unnecessary risks being taken on our roads and we urge people to have a good night tonight, get plenty of rest and allow yourself plenty of time before heading back on the road, sober and well rested."