What Caused Weekend Crashes


All the fatal crashes over the weekend involve either speed, alcohol or crossing the centreline.

As at 4pm, the holiday road toll stood at 7 with a further crash on the West Coast last night.

“We are tremendously saddened by so many needless deaths,” said Superintendent Paula Rose today, adding that every single one of these crashes was avoidable. They all involved either speed, alcohol or crossing the centreline,” the very things that we have been urging drivers take particular care with.”

“In that sense, we know that we were right to concentrate on these issues. But we are devastated to think that seven people have lost their lives over the weekend because of them.”

The road toll period finishes at 6am.




  1. Matt says:

    What caused them? By what’s been reported so far, the same thing that cause fatal crashes on any given non-holiday day: poor judgement. Be it DUI, excessive speed for the conditions (note: 4km/h over the posted limit is not necessarily excessive, but at times even 4km/h under the posted limit may be), or just driving like a cock, poor judgement summarises the entire litany of usual sins. Mechanical failure is a very minor issue, and plain bad luck (tree on road, loose load on a vehicle in front, etc) is rare. That leaves poor judgement.

    We’ve hammered enforcement. We’ve started working on engineering, and on roads that have been engineered properly the results are good. Look at Auckland’s motorways, the most-heavily travelled stretches of road in the country, where pretty much from the moment the median barriers were installed the road toll dropped like a stone. Now, from dozens of fatalities a year we have a handful despite huge increases in traffic volumes and kilometres travelled.
    What’s missing? The final “e”: education. I’ve said before, and will say again, it’s too easy to get a driver’s licence here and too hard to lose one. There’s no mandatory testing of any kind between getting your full licence and turning 78. In my case, that would’ve been a 61 year gap had I not got a class 2 licence, and even then it’ll be 55-ish years until I get to the currently-mandated age to have to demonstrate again that I’m fit to continue to drive. That’s a nonsense, especially given that getting my car licence was a complete doddle. Even the new regime isn’t that strict, though it’s a heck of a lot better than what we currently have. The problem is that, as I said to James B in another thread, it’ll be decades before all of the people who went through the existing or prior regimes are off the roads. What do we do about all of them in the interim?

  2. Joshua says:

    Matt - by what your saying we should be focusing on upgrading our roading network since that is what is saving lives, education on driving is fine at the moment, having regular testing is not going to solve the problem since those people are not causing the crashes, once you have passed that initial test which is now much improved, you should be fit for the road. Look at the road toll causes this weekend, funny most were caused by youngens who have just been through their tests recently. There is plenty of targeted advertising as well. Education is not the problem at the moment, it driver mentality.

  3. Matt says:

    Joshua, addressing the mentality is part of education. And we’ve shown fairly conclusively that, short of mandatory “driving like a dick” cut-offs in cars, enforcement is reaching the limits of its effectiveness. The Police made a big deal about how they were going to be strictly enforcing speed limits, and saturating the roads, and we still have a near-record road toll for the holiday weekend just closed. Mandating defensive driving courses as part of going from learner to restricted, and advanced driving courses for going from restricted to full, would help too. Especially the defensive, particularly if they were expanded to include some SCU cops walking through “caused by driving like a dick” crashes that could only be avoided by behaving rather than by being a more-skilled driver. I’ve got a couple in mind that would qualify.

  4. Joshua says:

    @Matt - Oh totally Agree with you, defensive driving courses should be compulsory and even expanding education throughout transition between different stages of getting the licence should be done, just don’t think having the regular testing between you initial test and say when you turn 78 is going to make much difference, apart from increase cost. It’s the younger drivers that need to be targeted.

  5. Matt says:

    If the testing is pass/fail, and fail==lose your licence, people might try a little harder. We’d also see a lot of the muppets hauled off the roads.
    As for cost, so? A driver’s licence is a privilege, not a right. We strictly control firearms ownership, and a car is no less a lethal weapon than a car. People forget that, and the attitude to driving in NZ is very much one of deity-granted right not state-controlled privilege. You have a right to freedom of movement, but that doesn’t mean you have a right to do it from behind the wheel of a tonne of steel in a class of object that can, and does hundreds of times a year, kill people.

    It’s all very well to say that you have to target young drivers, but there are whole generations of drivers on our roads who have never been through any kind of comprehensive testing. They make up a majority of at-fault drivers in fatal crashes on our roads, even if young drivers are over-represented statistically. By sheer numbers, drivers over 30 are the ones most likely to be at fault in a fatal crash. What do we do about them?


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