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Carnage on Waikato roads - Police call for culture change

Second weekend of carnage on Waikato roads leads Police to call for culture change

17 March 2014 - After a traumatic weekend on the region's roads that claimed the lives of two people and left a number of others with life threatening injuries, the Waikato's top road policing officer says attitudes need to change.

District Road Policing Manager, Inspector Freda Grace, said the most disappointing thing about the latest tragedies is that once again, each incident contained a large degree of avoid-ability.

"In the first incident the Waikato Serious Crash Unit is working to establish what, if any part, speed and alcohol played in a collision between a utility and a truck on SH24 shortly before 1am on Saturday.

"It is too early to determine what caused the crash which claimed the life of 23-year-old Matamata man, Jeremy Mark KINDER, but initial indications are his Toyota Hilux utility failed to negotiate a corner and crossed the centreline into the path of an eastbound Kenworth truck and trailer unit."

Mrs Grace said the second person to lose their life as a result of road trauma was an elderly pedestrian struck by a vehicle as he crossed SH1 at Karapiro ten days ago.

"Auckland man, 88-year-old Roy James GRANT had been under treatment at Waikato Hospital since the incident but died early this morning. The Serious Crash Unit investigation into what, if any, charges may be laid is still continuing.

"In expressing the sympathies of New Zealand Police to the friends and family of the two men for their loss we are also sparing a thought for a number of other people who are fighting for their lives following 36 crashes in the Waikato since Friday."

Mrs Grace said this included a 79-year-old man who suffered critical injuries when struck by a reversing car on Shakespeare St in Leamington early on Friday evening and a crash between a car and a motor-cycle on Hoeka Rd in Newstead that saw two people on the motor-cycle taken to hospital.

"Then shortly after 9am on Sunday emergency services were called to the scene of a crash on SH1 north of Huntly where a motor-cycle carrying two people crashed into a roadside barrier near the Rangiriri tavern.

"A 52-year-old Huntly man and his female pillion passenger were flown by air ambulance helicopter in a serious condition to Waikato Hospital where their condition is described as stable. At this point Police are working to establish what part a item of material found wrapped around the motor-cycle's rear wheel may have played in the crash."

Mrs Grace said there were no witnesses to the crash at the scene and Police are appealing for anyone who saw what happened to contact the Huntly Police on 07 858 6200.

"While the investigations into what happened in each of the crashes continue, we as a community need to focus on preventing more trauma happening on our roads.
"Late February through to early April are traditionally busy periods for emergency services dealing with motor-cycle and commercial vehicle crashes and it appears this year is no different. And now we have had our second pedestrian fatality and have another person seriously injured."

Mrs Grace said the only way to turn the tide on the spate of road crashes on Waikato roads was to introduce a change in culture.

"We need to drive socially, give each other plenty of room on the road and ensure other road users are able to see you regardless of if you are a pedestrian, cyclist, motor-cycle rider or driver, the stakes for those left behind are just too great if you don't."

ENDS

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