22 Apr 2011

Motorists urged to take care and be patient at Easter

11:21 am on 22 April 2011

Police are urging motorists to take extra care and have patience on the roads over the Easter holiday in a bid to avoid last year's high road toll.

The holiday period started at 4pm on Thursday and ends at 6am on Tuesday. Last year 12 people died on the roads.

The national manager of road policing, Superintendent Paula Rose, says the road toll so far this year is the lowest ever and she wants to keep it that way.

Ms Rose says police will be out in force over the weekend and will be lowering the usual speed tolerance. Officers will take action against all drivers detected 5km or more over the speed limit.

Police will be keeping a keen eye on what Ms Rose calls the big killers - crossing the centre line, failing to wear safety belts and drink-driving.

Police will also be encouraging slower drivers to pull over to let traffic pass.

Roads were already busy on Thursday night, with delays on major roads in some centres including Auckland, Wellington and the Coromandel.

Annual road toll down so far

This year, 87 people have died on the roads compared with 133 at the same stage last year and 129 for the same period in 2009.

Superintendent Paula Rose believes the fall in the number of fatalities is due partly to safer cars, better roads and greater awareness about safe driving and of the dangers of speeding and drink driving.

Ms Rose also says higher petrol prices mean motorists are slowing down to save fuel.