Road deaths dominate Beehive news

With the Government in holiday mode there is not much information coming out of the Beehive ‘latest news’ at this time of year, apart from releases on the rod toll.

Provisional figure for 2018 road deaths

Police Minister Stuart Nash has extended his sympathies to the families and friends of the 380 people who died in vehicle accidents during 2018.

Mr Nash has confirmed the provisional number of road deaths for 2018 has exceeded the annual toll for 2017, when 378 people lost their lives. It is the worst annual figure since 2009, when 384 people were killed.

The provisional figures show fatalities are made up of the following demographics:

  • 49 per cent were the driver of the vehicle and 24 per cent were passengers
  • 14 per cent were motorbike riders or pillion passengers
  • 11 per cent were pedestrians
  • Just over one per cent were cyclists
  • 66 per cent were male and 34 per cent were female
  • 28 per cent were in the sixty-plus age group
  • 14 per cent were children or teenagers
  • 13 per cent were aged between 20 and 24 years
  • 48 per cent died in crashes on the open road on state highways
  • The region with the largest share of fatalities was Waikato at 17 per cent; followed by Auckland and Canterbury with 14 per cent each; and Manawatu/Wanganui on 12 per cent

More information is on the Ministry of Transport website:

Two thirds of deaths were men. Motorbikes are relatively dangerous.

Waikato is the most dangerous region. Interesting to see the toll less in Auckland, although a lot of the roads in Auckland are either motorways with separated lanes or urban streets.

Curiously the Canterbury toll is high, but the Otago toll is low, with most deaths on State Highway 1 north and south of Dunedin.

This toll has since increased to 382 –Death in hospital lifts 2018 road toll (ODT) A man injured in a Nelson car crash last month has died – taking last year’s road toll up to 382.

Let’s make 2019 different and take care on our roads

After another tragic year on New Zealand roads, Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter is emphasising Government’s commitment to improving the country’s road safety record.

“It is staggering and unnecessary loss of life – equivalent in scale to a major airline crash,” said Julie Anne Genter.

“It is yet another reminder of the need to make substantial improvements to road safety in New Zealand.

“Many deaths and serious injuries on our roads are preventable.”

‘Are preventable’ keeps getting trotted out with deaths – of course road deaths are ‘preventable’, if no one used cars, or if ten times as much was spent improving road safety. Banning motorbikes would prevent deaths, as would banning male drivers.

This Government is committed to reducing deaths and serious injuries through new thinking, more funding and prioritised action.

“The Government is investing $1.4 billion over three years to make urgent safety improvements across our high-risk roads. On high volume state highways New Zealanders can expect to see more improvements like life-saving median and side barriers and crash-preventing rumble strips.

“This year we will be consulting the public on a new road safety strategy and action plan to drive substantial improvements in road safety in New Zealand,” said Julie Anne Genter.

Road safety is a good thing to invest in. Accidents and deaths have a major impact on many people and families.

Too many people killed over Christmas

The official holiday period has ended with nine people tragically killed in crashes on New Zealand roads. This is three people fewer than the 12 who died last holiday season.

Much of the previous release was repeated.

More information

Using roads or streets is one of the biggest risks we take in our lives. Because we travel so much it is easy to take safety for granted.

Unfortunately some deaths are caused by others at no fault of the victims – there is nothing much we can do about this but support Government expenditure on safety measures, and hope like hell it doesn’t happen to ourselves.



  1. Griff.

     /  January 8, 2019

    28 per cent were in the sixty-plus age group.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  January 8, 2019

      Were you surprised ? I was.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  January 8, 2019

        I shouldn’t have been, some old drivers are appalling.

  2. Gerrit

     /  January 8, 2019

    All those percentages are meaningless unless we see a breakdown of the causes of accidents.

    That way we can correlate the victim demographics causes and take remedial action steps.

    For example did those 28 percent in the sixty plus age group cause the accident or were innocent victims of driver also killed in the 13% 20 to 24 age group.

    Whilst we hear plenty about speed kills, not much is heard about other causes.

    As an example how many accidents were caused by the 50 tonne trucks that have a high incidence of not staying on the road?

    How many in the 20 to 24 age group and the childrens age group were fleeing police?

    They are in the statistics but one really cant say it was an “accidental” death.

    Until we see all the causes of accidents, these statistic will only be used to browbeat.

  3. Griff.

     /  January 8, 2019

    For example did those 28 percent in the sixty plus age group cause the accident or were innocent victims of driver also killed in the 13% 20 to 24 age group.

    Number of old coots on the road is a lot lower than their death rate suggests.
    Just as number of motor bike riders killed is higher than numbers on the road.
    Ergo being an old coot and on the road is a risk factor .
    I will also bet old coots are over represented in single car crashes and head ons.

    • Gerrit

       /  January 8, 2019

      Cant create an accident prevention strategy based on your assumption “I will also bet old coots are over represented in single car crashes and head ons.”

      You need to know the cause of each and every accident to be able to create accident prevention strategy.

      I have a pet hate in slow drivers with no spatial awareness (usually tourist or people who they have only driven in citys). However I cant say they cause accidents until we see statistics. Even then the statistic will probably read “dangerous overtaking”. rather than the scene setting slow and spatially blinkered driver.

      • Gezza

         /  January 8, 2019

        True. No good just going on “feelz” like *some people*.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  January 8, 2019

          I see some old coots who seem to think that they are the only ones on the road. Pull out without looking, change speeds in a slow-slow-quick-quick-slow, go 50 on the Auckland motorway….

          • Gezza

             /  January 8, 2019

            Oh they’re definitely around. I’ve encountered them frequently on trips to & from the turangawaewae in New Plymouth, pulling out of lanes near small towns and settlements and putting slowly along the highway into town, oblivious to everybody else trying to do their 100 kph to get wherever they’re heading, and getting frustrated as traffic piles up behind them with no passing lanes in sight, or passing lanes too short for more than a car or two to get around them safely.

            They’re one of the causes of those idiots in fast cars that pull out from 3 or 4 cars back, plant boot, and are soon up alongside you, stopping you from passing them.

            I sometimes run into them on the streets here on the way up to ma’s. Doing 30 kph when I’m trying to do 50. Less of a problem here at home though as I’m not going far. Besides, I might be an old coot myself one day. At the moment I’m just a geezer.

            I tend to be wary around these folk if passing them because many of them aren’t that great at turning their heads before or watching their side mirrors when turning or suddenly stopping, because arthritis or whatever. Ma doesn’t drive much now because she’s noticed her reaction time is too slow for her to feel safe.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  January 8, 2019

              I would say they are rare on the open road up here relative to tourists and inexperienced city drivers. And even drunk/drugged locals.

  4. PartisanZ

     /  January 8, 2019

    Agree we need to know more about causes of accidents – if possible – in order to take remedial action –

    Here’s that absent statistic Gerrit – one of many IMHO –

    “Because of their large mass, trucks tend to be over-represented in serious crashes. In recent years deaths from crashes involving trucks have made up around 17 to 23 percent of the total road toll, while only about 6 percent of the total distance travelled on NZ roads is travelled by trucks.”

    • PartisanZ

       /  January 8, 2019

      So trucks do 1,000+ times more damage to roads than cars do with each pass … and contribute 4 times the road toll fatalities than the distance they travel each year …

      I wonder if their RUC’s and ACC levies are commensurate with this?

  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  January 8, 2019

    How many were conscious or unconscious suicides or victims of same.

    • PartisanZ

       /  January 8, 2019

      That’s an excellent question. How would we ever know?

      And, if the SCU can somehow work it out, would they even tell us?

      Very pertinent to the Death-with-Dignity, End of Life Choice discussion though. Having the ‘Choice’ might prevent [HOW MANY] fatal accidents per year … And how many of those are innocent deaths and/or innocent traumatized survivors (ie truck drivers) …?

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  January 8, 2019

        No skidmarks is a good clue.I have read that many times. But there is probably no way of being certain that the person didn’t go to sleep behind the wheel or something like that.

        It’s not really pertinent to death with dignity as by the time people need this, they are unlikely to be still driving.

        • PartisanZ

           /  January 8, 2019

          In Oregon they can make their End-of-Life-Choice along with their doctor, another doctor (I think?) and their specialist, in plenty of time to still be driving …

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  January 8, 2019

          A friend’s young husband was found wrapped around a tree or power pole, but there was no reason to expect that it was suicide. He’d had a long drive back from a family holiday, gone to work tired and almost certainly went to sleep at the wheel going home.

          Who hasn’t said that it was only (x) km home and carried on ?

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  January 8, 2019

            I don’t think that David Seymour’s is like that; it’s not a carbon copy. I must say that I assumed that these would be people near the end.

            Any doubts that I might have had were gone when I read his one.

            I was interested to read that in Oregon most/many of the people don’t actually use the overdose in the end.

            • PartisanZ

               /  January 8, 2019

              That’s correct, and the increase in numbers of people using it during 25 years of operation can easily be assigned to improved knowledge of its availability …

              In Oregon at least it is not a slippery slope.

              The Beaver State is an excellent one to compare to Aotearoa NZ as well, with around the same population and demographics. I like her motto too – Alis volat propriis (English: She flies with her own wings)

              “No bird soars too high, if it soars upon its own wings” – Blake

              Seymour’s done a courageous and ethical service to our nation introducing this Bill and getting it as far as he has …

              I could say “Let’s pray …” but I really mean “Let’s ACTIVELY PREVENT the Christian & Religious Conservative lobby from destroying it” …

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  January 8, 2019

              I could translate the Latin, having studied it at school and university. This is one reason for Corky’s dislike of me.

              There is no chance of his one being a slippery slope, the rules are far too tight. The Oregon article that I read said that if anyone else does it, they will be charged with murder, I think. I kept it but haven’t read it for some time.

              Nobody can decide for anyone else in DS’s bill. Nor can they book it in advance in case of severe dementia, Everything is spelled out.

              I have read of cases in the old days when morphine was really the only thing for people in severe pain * when the doctor would say that the person must not have x pills as this would kill them. I believe that DH Lawrence and the family gave their mother an overdose to end her suffering. We will never know how many people did this.

              *it was a surprise to hear that many cancers are not painful; the buggers don’t have the decency to advertise in that way, so people don’t know that they have it until it’s too late.