1 Jan 2018

2017 road toll 'heartbreaking' - AA

3:49 pm on 1 January 2018

The AA says last year's road toll - the highest it's been since 2009 - is heartbreaking and it's pleading with drivers to be more careful this year.

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Photo: 123RF

In 2017, 380 died on New Zealand roads and the AA's road safety spokesperson Dylan Thomsen said a further 14,000 people were likely to have been injured by road crashes.

The road toll had been rising each year for the past five years, he said.

"That's after we had nearly 30 years of a reducing road toll so it's really quite heartbreaking to see the numbers increasing," said Mr Thomsen.

He said it was hard to pinpoint exactly what was causing the high numbers, but there were more people on the roads.

AA research showed half of all fatal crashes were from ordinary drivers who made mistakes and there needed to be an attitude change towards driving and taking risks, Mr Thomsen said.

He said improving roads and having cars with good safety features would help to decrease the number of deaths.

Mr Thomsen said the 15-30 year old age group represented the highest number of road deaths even though it was the smallest group driving.

He urged drivers to stick to safe speeds, allow a safe following distance and keep their attention on the road.

The first death on the roads for 2018 has taken the holiday road toll to 12.

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