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21 Jan 2018 6:01
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  •   Home > News > Politics

    2017 was a bad year on the roads

    With 2017's road toll near the worst in a decade, it was a bad year for drivers despite plenty of safety messages. The government is now looking for solutions.

    It's been a horror year on the roads, with more than 50 people dying compared to the previous year.

    With just one day to go, 378 people had died on New Zealand roads, up from 326 during the same period in 2016.

    That makes 2017 the worst year for driving fatalities since 2009.

    As at the morning of December 31, there had been 342 deadly crashes - up from 284 at the same time last year, according to Ministry of Transport figures.

    As people prepared to leave for their summer holiday Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter said it had been a shocking year on the roads.

    Police Minister Stuart Nash also urged people to challenge unsafe behaviour - but so far eight have died during the holiday period.

    "The people we have lost this year are more than a statistic. They are parents, children, friends and colleagues. Each one has left people behind who are grieving for their loss," he said.

    Police constantly pump out safety messages over the holidays, yet a tweet from Canterbury police on Saturday revealed just how bad it still is.

    "1U: Our code for a driver complaint. From 6pm to 5.30pm today we have had 100 1U jobs about eight per hour," Canterbury police said.

    "Some of those could relate to a single vehicle or incident but not enough for us to not tell you to relax, take it easy and be safe. Let's get everyone to 2018 eh?"

    They overnight arrested a 29-year-old following an hour-long chase through the region described as "complete madness".

    In Nelson, police clocked a driver going 176 km/h on State Highway 6.

    The weather won't be an excuse for the last day of the year either.

    NIWA says overall there will be good conditions to ring in 2018 on Sunday night apart from late day showers on New Year's Day for parts of the North Island.

    The holiday road toll ends at 6am on Wednesday.

    Last year 19 people died in the Christmas-New year holiday period and more than 100 were seriously injured.

    "In 2018, road safety will be a major priority for the government. The trauma on our roads is unacceptable and something needs to change," Ms Genter said.


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