19 Nov 2017

Fatal crash means 2017 road toll now tops last year's total

6:20 pm on 19 November 2017

The death of a man in a crash in Hawke's Bay today has brought this year's road toll to 329 - which is now one higher than for the whole of last year.

Road fatality white cross

This year's road toll now stands at 329. Photo: RNZ

The crash happened on Swamp Road in Fernhill in Hastings about 11.30am.

Police said the man was the sole occupant of the car and no other vehicles were involved.

The Serious Crash Unit is investigating the cause.

Earlier today, State Highway 2 at Mangatawhiri, south of Auckland, reopened after a fatal accident in which a pedestrian was hit by a vehicle.

The road was closed between State Highway 1 and Pinnacle Hill Road after the 42-year-old man was hit.

Emergency services were called to the highway, near Pokeno, just after 2am, police said.

One roading expert said it was time to consider reducing some speed limits.

New Zealand could not afford to upgrade all its roads at once, and that meant the speed limits for some of its roads were inappropriate, the director of the engineering laboratory at Auckland University's Transportation Research Centre said.

Douglas Wilson said many roads were not designed to be driven at the open speed limit of 100 kilometres an hour.

The road toll is now the highest since 2010 when 375 people died on the roads.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs