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Waikato deaths show road safety a community issue

Waikato deaths show road safety a whole of community, not Police alone issue

Tuesday, 20 May 2014 - 11:53am

Waikato Police say two deaths in two crashes on the same day would be unacceptable at any time of year but for the tragedies to occur on the first day of a national campaign highlighting the importance of road safety was all the more galling.

District Road Policing Manager, Inspector Freda Grace, said the first fatality occurred on SH3 south of Ohaupo shortly before 6pm when a north bound yellow Mazda car crossed the centreline and collided with three south bound vehicles including a truck.

"The 22-year-old female sole occupant of the Mazda died at the scene while another person from one of the vehicles was taken to Waikato Hospital with minor to moderate injuries.

"The Waikato Serious Crash Unit is still working to establish the circumstances leading up to the crash and there are a number of factors under consideration at this time meaning it would be inappropriate to speculate further on what occurred."

While any road fatality is tragic Mrs Grace said the latest death, of a baby critically injured in a collision on SH4 near Aria yesterday, was particularly upsetting for emergency services.

"The baby was airlifted to Auckland's Starship Hospital with critical injuries following the crash but passed away early this morning.

"A number of factors are under consideration by crash investigators at this time including the speed of the vehicle as it approached a 65km/h advisory bend, the condition of the two front tyres and that there were six people travelling in the five seat Honda hatchback at the time of the crash."

Mrs Grace said Police believe the baby was sitting on its mother's lap at the time of the crash while the four adults and a three-year-old child also in the car were appropriately restrained.

"The most tragic aspect of the loss of the baby is the avoidability of what happened, Police staff located a car seat unused in the car's boot that possibly could have prevented the baby suffering the critical injuries. Sadly with so many people in the car there wasn't room to fit it.

"Yesterday's fatal crashes were but two of 18 collisions to occur on Waikato roads between 6am Monday and the same time today. Each had a degree of avoidability to them and while this week is Road Safety Week, here in the Waikato every day is a road safety focus day."

Mrs Grace said Police across the Waikato are this week engaged in a number of road safety initiatives focusing on child car restraints, driver inattention, speed, alcohol and serviceability of vehicles.

"While our staff will be doing everything they can to prevent road users harming themselves or others perhaps these latest tragedies can serve as a reminder that road safety is no accident and is not a Police alone responsibility, but a whole of community issue."

End

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