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17 Needless & Tragic Deaths This Xmas & New Year

17 Disappointing, Needless and Tragic Deaths This Christmas and New Year

"The deaths of 17 people on New Zealand's roads this holiday period are disappointing, tragic and needless," says AA spokesperson Simon Lambourne.

"Equally saddening is the increase in the annual road toll, and the AA urges motorists to take extra care if they are heading home from holidays this weekend."

17 people died on New Zealand's roads during the holiday period which started at 4pm on Christmas Eve and concluded at 6am today, significantly up on the nine last year. The 2007 road toll was 423, up 30 on the 2006 road toll of 393.

"The road toll is of course only one measure. We should be equally concerned about, and must not forget, the thousands of motorists injured in crashes during 2007 and during the Christmas New Year holiday period, some of whom will have lifelong injuries."

"We need to focus on having a safer system - safer drivers in safer cars on safer roads. That requires more emphasis on education, greater enforcement and improved road safety engineering."

"The AA is encouraged by the new Land Transport New Zealand driver fatigue campaign which helps motorists recognise the signs of fatigue and the consequences of drowsy driving."

"Drivers do need to take more care and follow the road code rules. One New Year's resolution all motorists should have is to pick up a copy of the road code and spend some time going through it. It may just save their lives or prevent a loved one from being seriously injured in a crash."

"The AA will continue to work closely with government agencies throughout 2008 to reduce both the road toll and the number of New Zealanders injured in crashes," says Mr Lambourne.


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