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Road Deaths At Record Low For Half Year

1 July 2002

Fewer people have died on New Zealand roads in the first six months of 2002 than in any half year on record.

The 34 road deaths recorded in June took the half-yearly figure to 214, down 31 from the same time last year and the fewest road fatalities for any January to June period since monthly recording began in 1965. The previous half-yearly low of 236 was recorded in 2000, while the worst January to June figures on record are 439 deaths in 1973 and 423 in 1987.

Director of Land Transport Safety David Wright said while there was no single reason for the significant drop in road deaths, viewed in the long term it was evident drivers were heeding the messages to slow down, stay sober and buckle up.

"When police and LTSA launched our joint enforcement and advertising campaign in 1995, the objective was clear: to reduce road trauma by changing drivers' attitudes and behaviour in the areas of speeding, drink-driving and safety belt wearing. There is clear evidence that we're achieving that objective.

"It's not a coincidence that the number of road deaths involving alcohol has dropped from 200 in 1995 to 118 last year, or that the number of deaths where speed was a factor has dropped from 221 in 1995 to 141 last year.

"Safety belt wearing rates have also increased significantly and there are fewer people dying as a result. In 1995, 112 unrestrained vehicle occupants died in crashes, and police estimated that at least 52 would have survived had they been properly restrained. Last year those numbers were down to 76 and 29 respectively."

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