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Road incidents poised to return to pre-Covid levels

Thursday 9 February 2023 | Written by CI News Staff | Published in Crime, Local, National

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Road incidents poised to return to pre-Covid levels
Photo of an accident that was taken in 2010

Statistical data on traffic trends is reinforcing what Police have been predicting for the past several months, says spokesperson Trevor Pitt.

In a statement, Pitt said road incidents would fully return to pre-Covid levels in 2023 “unless there is a shift in driver attitudes and behaviour”. 

While the total number of reported crashes in 2022 fell below 2019, this year is already back to the January figures of the years leading up to Covid.

Last month for example, the Police recorded 21 motor vehicle crashes. The previous January figures were: 10 (2022), and 9 (2021). Pre-Covid January 2020 was 20, and 2019 was 20, and 2018 was 23.

“The most influencing factors behind the motor vehicle crashes) have been traffic volume and frequency of road use. The quiet years of Covid, particularly the border closure (March 2020 to January 2022), yielded record low figures in terms of crashes, and other incidents.

“Unfortunately, poor driver behaviour consistently demonstrates carelessness, casual attitudes, and a drinking culture. Of significance has been the low level of road fatalities – a statistic that is unacceptable, and comes far too late,” Pitt said.

Last month, 32 people were recorded as having sustained injuries in a road crash – 50 per cent of those being admitted to hospital. Poor judgement, carelessness, and inconsiderate driving were cited as the main causes of motor vehicle crashes, during January.  Nearly a third of the crashes involved alcohol and nearly all involved a motorbike. The highest number of the incidents occurred in the busiest district – Te Au O Tonga.

Pitt said: “Police presence on the road has targeted at risk areas and times, and will continue to focus on driver and vehicle compliance with the law.”

Last month, the top three in traffic fines were incurred for no warrant of fitness, no rear vision mirror, and no annual license. More than 50 per cent of the total number of charges presented in court during January, involved traffic offenses.