Road toll spike frustrates police, councillors

  • 09/03/2016

Police and Waikato councillors are angry and frustrated at the high number of roading deaths in the region already recorded this year.

Eighteen people have died already in Waikato this year, adding to last year's high statistics of 68.

Regional Transport Committee chair Hugh Vercoe says it's disheartening.

"We were hoping with the new year things would change and we would have less [fatalities]. But in the short period of this calendar year we've had 18 deaths to date, and that's too high."

He says motorbikes are overrepresented in the numbers.

"I hear the motorcyclists saying to me, 'Hugh, we are not at fault, we are safe', and I take all of that on board. But last year, from the total of 68 killed, 24 percent were on a motorbike."

Mr Vercoe says it's important to note the motorcyclists aren't always the ones causing accidents.

In an attempt to battle the rising toll, the region's roading authorities will continue to trial different speed limits. Mr Vercoe says it's about finding the right speed for the right road.

"It's not something that you'd do ad-hoc and there would be different speed limits all over the country, which is why we're trying to see if we can get a standard and have a safe speed for different roads."

Late last month the Waikato policing team posted a photo of a driver they had pulled over for driving 67km/h over the speed limit.

They said the driver, who was on a learner licence, had been doing 127km/h on a long, wet road with a speed limit of 60km/h.