1 Jan 2012

Police urge safe driving to keep road toll down

7:59 am on 1 January 2012

Police are urging people not to contribute to the rising holiday road toll as they make decisions about how to get home from New Years Eve celebrations.

The official holiday road toll is 15, higher than the 12 deaths recorded for the whole holiday period last year and the 13 in the year before that.

Superintendent Paula Rose is reminding people that alcohol and driving are a "lethal cocktail" and is urging passengers to ensure they are with a driver who is safe.

If not, she says, they should take public transport or even doss down for the night if it's not safe to drive.

In the latest fatalities, two men died when the car they were travelling in crossed the centre line, hit a power pole and burst into flames near Blenheim at about 1am on Saturday.

The dead men were Gary Alexander Benseman, who was 22, and Brian James Cooper, 23, both from Blenheim.

Police say two cars were travelling at speed and passing each other on a straight section of Old Renwick Road when Mr Benseman lost control of his vehicle.

A full investigation will be completed before the police decide whether any charges will be laid.