Road toll 2019 a 'staggering loss of life' - Iain Lees-Galloway

The death toll was down on 2018.
The death toll was down on 2018. Photo credit: File.

While the number of people killed on New Zealand roads was down in 2019, Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway says it is still a "staggering loss of life".

The road toll for 2019 was 353, down on 2018 (377) and 2017 (378), but an increase on the number killed each year between 2011 and 2016.

Last year there were significantly fewer passenger and pedestrian deaths, while the number of cyclists killed increased on 2018. There were also fewer deaths in the 16-24 age bracket.

Lees-Galloway, the Government's current holiday duty minister, said his thoughts were with the families, friends and communities of those killed last year.

"While the number of deaths is lower than in 2018 (377), this is still a staggering loss of life.

"I want to acknowledge and thank all our emergency response professionals who deal first-hand with the trauma on our roads and work to save lives on a daily basis."

The AA has also said it is encouraged by the lower figure, noting it is a "tragic number" but a "step in the right direction".

"It is a small but significant step in the right direction. Early on in the last decade, we had three years where fewer than 300 people were killed on the roads, so we know it is possible," AA motorising affairs general manager Mike Noon said.

Lees-Galloway called for people to be careful on the roads this summer and said the Government was committed to road safety as part of its Road to Zero plan.

Part of the action plan includes introducing drug testing equipment for police, investing in additional median crash barriers, and upgrading roundabouts and pedestrian crossings. 

Road to Zero's current target is to cut the 2018 road toll figure by 40 percent by 2030, which the Government says will see 750 lives saved and 5600 serious injuries prevented.

While the AA has welcomed the Government's road strategy, Noon said individuals also need to consider what they could be doing better behind the wheel.

"If we can get all drivers to do better at simple things like keeping at least a two-second following distance, not using their phones or other distractions, driving to the conditions and being fully alert and focussed behind the wheel it will make a huge impact on safety."

Road toll between 2010 and 2019:

  • 2010: 375
  • 2011: 284
  • 2012: 308
  • 2013: 253
  • 2014: 293
  • 2015: 319
  • 2016: 327
  • 2017: 378
  • 2018: 377
  • 2019: 353