With many people about to start hitting the roads for summer holidays – some of you probably already have – it’s perhaps a good time for a reminder to be safe out on the roads. It’s a time of year where people often travel longer distances than usual and on roads that they may not be familiar with. When combined with more people on the roads – including idiots who saving 10 seconds as worth the risk to pass on blind corners. December’s reputation is borne out in the stats, over the last 20 years December has been the worst month for fatalities in half of them. Of the other half the next most common month was April with three (April is high as a result of Easter I expect). The chart below shows the 12 month rolling total of road deaths over the last decade. As you can see since about February 2014 the number of deaths has trended upwards.
For the second year in a row the number of people who have died on our roads has increased and at 313 deaths as of yesterday, 2015 already has the highest road toll since 2010 – although it won’t pass 2010 (375 deaths) unless things are particularly horrific.
Despite the larger road toll there are some small positives that can be seen in the figures. If they remain unchanged it will be the lowest year – at least for the last 20 – for deaths to pedestrians and cyclists (I’m not sure about injuries but I assume the same).
To me, one of the issues to bringing the road toll down lower is our funding priorities. Currently we are pumping billions into massive motorways across the country and while they will undoubtedly be safer than the roads they replace, the huge cost of those big projects is them is preventing the NZTA and likely important safety projects from being worked on. These are things like intersection improvements, curve easements, passing lanes and better road markings.
If you are travelling the NZTA have put together a website called Summer Journeys with some useful information highlighting areas where there are road works or common congestion points – such as the one below.
So if you’re travelling please be safe and have a good break.
We’ll still be blogging over the next few weeks but as I’m sure you can understand things will be a little lighter as we too try to have a break and spend time with families