Police inspector says New Zealand's roads aren't to blame for Easter road toll, it's the way Kiwis drive

A police inspector says New Zealand's roads are not the reason for the Easter road toll - it's the way Kiwis drive. 

The death toll for Easter weekend in 2022 which finished at 6am on Tuesday was four, less than half of what was experienced in 2021 when nine people died on New Zealand's roads.

Co-director of road safety partnerships Inspector Peter McKennie told AM on Tuesday Kiwis need to change the way they drive. 

"It's not so much the nature of the roads, it's how fast and our manner of driving on the roads," McKennie said.  

"We need to adjust to the conditions and the fact Easter has finished isn't an opportunity to relax on the roads, every day our roads have risks around it and we still have ANZAC weekend coming up and we are in the middle of school holidays."

McKennie said Kiwis can take steps to ensure their safety when they travel on New Zealand's roads. 

"It's more a matter of driving to the roads as they are as you can't expect the roads to change overnight but we can change our manner of driving overnight," he told AM. 

"Certainly we can make sure everyone has their seatbelts on, we aren't driving impaired and we aren't distracted by cellphones."

Last year, the AA called on the Government to improve New Zealand's roads saying maintenance funding is as valuable as gold bricks.  

"Road maintenance impacts a vehicle’s grip with the road, its risk of skidding and the driver losing control," the AA said. 

"Even the best driver can lose control if the road they’re on doesn’t have good grip."

But McKennie told AM even if money was available to improve New Zealand's roads it would still take time, so it's about changing the way we drive. 

"The roads themselves don't cause accidents it's how people drive on the roads that contribute to crashes occurring," he said. 

"So the important thing is for people to drive safely and appropriately for the roads as they are and that's what will help keep people safe."

McKennie said the number one contribution to crashes is speed and has urged Kiwi motorists to slow down. 

"Speed contributes to every crash no matter the other contributing factors," McKennie told AM.

"Our bodies are only able to survive certain speed impacts and most modern cars are only designed to protect you in a frontal impact crash at speeds up to 70km/h." 

Watch the full interview above.