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Waikato Police Clamping Down On Rural Rat Runs

Waikato Police Clamping Down On Rural Rat Runs
New Zealand Police Waikato News Release
8:27am 22 September 2008

22 September 2008

While the number of fatal crashes on State Highways in the Waikato decline the number of serious or fatal crashes on 'rural rat runs' are increasing with the latest fatality happening in the Eastern Waikato on Friday morning.

Police are awaiting the results of a toxicology test to establish if alcohol was a factor in the crash which happened when a southbound Mitsubishi Evo collided with a corner of a bridge, rolled several times and ended up on its roof in a paddock.

The driver of the car suffered moderate lacerations in the crash while a front seat passenger received minor injuries.

A 22-year-old man travelling as a rear seat passenger was flown to Waikato Hospital in a critical condition but died of his injuries a short time after arrival.

The Waikato Serious Crash Unit is investigating the crash.

Waikato Road Policing Manager, Inspector Leo Tooman, said a heightened Highway Patrol profile on state highways meant some less law abiding drivers were turning to 'rural rat runs' to avoid detection.

Rural rat runs are described as a system of roads traversing the Waikato and Hauraki Plains able to be used by drivers without the need to travel through towns.

"The number of fatal and serious crashes on state highways throughout the Waikato crashes has been diminishing while the number on these rural rat runs has increased," he said.

Between January and August 2007 there were seven fatal crashes on non-state highway rural roads while over the same period this year the figure rose to 13.

As a result of this Waikato Police are setting new deployment strategies to try and address recent trends in an effort to reduce road trauma victimisation.


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