26 Dec 2012

Boxing Day road toll a let-down on last year

3:49 pm on 26 December 2012

Police say that it was on Boxing Day last year that motorists finally got the message about holiday road deaths - but that hasn't been the case this year.

This Boxing Day, a 24 year-old man died in a crash near Invercargill early on Wednesday, and a collision between a car and a milk tanker near Marton caused serious injuries.

Earlier, on Christmas Day, a 71 year-old woman was killed in a hit-and-run crash at a Hamilton intersection.

Though the day after Christmas is one of the days of the year with the heaviest traffic flows, on Boxing Day 2011 there were no fatalities on the roads.

The national manager of road policing, Carey Griffiths, says last year it seemed as if the stars aligned and everyone for once observed the basics.

Even so, Mr Griffiths says 10 people were seriously injured in car crashes on Boxing Day 2011, so no one can be complacent.

"The focus on fatalities often overshadows the fact that for every person killed there is often 10 or more seriously injured," he says.

"We're talking people with life-long (effects from) injuries - it's important not to lose sight of that".

With more than two dozen additional deaths on the roads this year than last, he says he'd have liked to have seen the same zero fatalities in this year's post-Christmas traffic.