Tragic time on road
CARNAGE at the scene of yesterday’s fatal crash on State Highway 3 south of Kihikihi. 338071AD
By Dean Taylor
One man is dead and another is in serious condition in Waikato Hospital following two crashes within 24 hours involving cars and trucks on Tokanui Straight.
At the time of going to print Police had not confirmed the identity of the deceased man, but it is believed it is a local person who was driving south in a Chevrolet Camaro.
It appears the car has veered into the path of a north bound stock truck, causing severe damage to both vehicles. The Waikato Serious Crash Unit was called to investigate, returning to the same stretch of road where they investigated a crash on Sunday afternoon.
A Te Awamutu man was taken to Waikato Hospital with serious leg injuries following a collision between his car and a milk-tanker at about 4pm. Again initial indications are the man’s car was in the wrong lane at the time of the crash.
Waikato Police are worried that as the weather conditions improve with summer, drivers’ attention on the roads is deteriorating. Five people from four separate crashes were admitted to hospitals across the region over three days.
POLICE investigate the truck which was hit by a south bound car. 338071BD
Waikato Road Policing Manager, Inspector Leo Tooman said Sunday’s crash came barely an hour after head-on collision, this time on SH2 at Mangatarata where it appears a BMW driven by a man in his 70s was on the wrong side of the road when it collided with another vehicle.
“The driver is believed to be in a critical condition in Thames Hospital while a female front seat passenger in the car was taken to Waikato Hospital,” he said.
Sunday’s crashes followed a motorcyclist breaking his leg in Tairua after falling off his motorbike and hitting a campervan and on Friday a woman was seriously injured when her car collided with a logging truck on SH2 in the Karangahake Gorge.
“People need to be aware the same attention has to be paid to the road as when there is bad weather. In fine weather we have higher traffic volumes to contend with and people become tired driving in the afternoon.”
ROAD TOLL ALARMING
The Waikato region’s road fatality toll for this year is already more than 80, compared to last year’s 65, and there is concern it could be on its way to matching 2005’s ‘horrific’ total of 93.
The number of fatalities so far in 2007 is higher than in all but one of the last five years, with most of December still to go, said Regional Land Transport committee chairman Norm Barker.
“The committee is deeply concerned at the high number of fatalities this year and we want to remind all users of our highways of the need to be particularly careful over summer as even more traffic hits our roads.”
Trucks had been over-represented in crash statistics this year - a fact the committee attributed to increased volumes of trucks passing through the region and the excessive speeds some of them were travelling at. Whether trucks were to blame or not, their size meant when they were involved in crashes there were usually severe results involving serious injury or death.
Police, roading authorities, truck operators and other road safety partners have established a group co-ordinated by ACC to look at the problems and come up with solutions. And Waikato road safety partners were gearing up for major publicity campaigns over summer, addressing such issues as alcohol, speed, impatience and fatigue, the report said.