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Provisional road toll at 326 last year

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 31/12/2016

<span style="font-size:13px;">The government says it's committed to reducing the road toll despite 326 deaths last year, a figures that has risen for the third year running.</span> © SNPA The government says it's committed to reducing the road toll despite 326 deaths last year, a figures that has risen for the third year running. The provisional road toll rose again in 2016, for the third time in as many years.

Last year 326 people were killed on New Zealand's roads, prompting Labour to call for an urgent review of the government's road safety strategies and policies.

Figures for last year show almost one in four fatal crashes involved drivers going too fast for conditions, while drugs and alcohol were responsible for almost 40 per cent of fatalities.

Not wearing seatbelts also contributed to the road toll - 39 per cent of drivers and 42 per cent of passengers killed in accidents were not wearing them.

Associate Transport Minister David Bennett says the reasons for the rising road toll are complex but the government is committed to reducing deaths and injuries.

"Road users also have a responsibility to keep themselves and others safe," he said.

"It is disappointing that the summer holiday road toll is already higher than the previous year so I encourage people to drive safely, be considerate of other drivers and follow the road rules."

Last year 12 people died between Christmas eve and January 5 while already this festive season 17 have died with four days left in the period.

The government is continuing to invest in median barriers, rumble strips and wider shoulders, as well as road safety enforcement, advertising and education campaigns, according to Mr Bennett.

But Labour's transport spokeswoman Sue Moroney says it's not enough.

She called it "scandalous" that only $3 million of $15 million in motorcycle safety levies collected in the last six years had been reinvested in safety while rider deaths rise.

Reductions in road policing and increasing freight traffic are also an "obvious threat" to road safety, she said.

"Getting freight off our roads and onto the safer modes of rail and coastal shipping should be a priority for improving safety," she said.

Road deaths and injuries are estimated to have cost $16.4 billion between 2010 and 2015.

"That pales in comparison to the personal grief and tragic consequences for the families and friends who have lost loved ones through road accidents in 2016. They deserve better," Ms Moroney said.

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