Road toll up from 2014

Road toll up from 2014

The provisional road toll is at its highest in five years – up 26 percent from 2013.

The Automobile Association (AA) describes the rise as extremely sad and troubling and is calling for changes to our roads.

This year's road toll sits at 321, 27 more deaths than last year and 68 more than 2013. It's the highest it's been since 2010.

This has the AA calling for action.

"Ultimately we believe the road toll should be as low as 200 by 2020. We think it's achievable but a lot of work needs to be done," says Mike Noon.

They believe this can be achieved if four things are implemented next year.

This means creating median and safety barriers on high-risk motorways, ensuring car dealers noticeably display the safety ratings of vehicles, introducing mandatory alcohol interlocks for repeat drink drivers, and extending the visiting drivers safety programme across the entire country.

But police aren't convinced.

"The solution is not so much the long term such as infrastructure investment or safer vehicles," says national road policing manager Superintendent Steve Greally.

"There's stuff we can do straight away, today, to bring that road toll down but that relies on drivers of every vehicle making better decisions."

And those decisions are obvious ones – driving at the speed limit and to the conditions, not drinking alcohol, using seatbelts and not using cell phones.

Supt Greally says more people need to follow those simple rules.

"Everybody is loved by someone. Why do we do it to ourselves? We can do a lot better here," he says.

While AA says no one can be 100 percent sure why there have been more fatal crashes in the past two years, they say when a country's economy is doing better and fuel prices are low, like they have been in New Zealand, then it could lead to more deaths on roads.

"When people are doing well then people's travel is less discretionary, so we are seeing an increase in the kilometres people are driving and with this fine weather we've seen people are really out and about at the moment," says Mr Noon.

So while it's okay to be bustling around the roads this summer, make sure you take your time while driving.

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