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On the highway to hell


When registering all deaths and serious injuries, Masterton roads were ranked the fourth most dangerous in New Zealand.

A recent roading report has dire news for drivers, with Wairarapa roads revealed to be some of the most dangerous in New Zealand.

Waka Kotahi NZTA’s Communities at Risk Register collected data during the past five years, providing critical information to road safety authorities.

Cause for concern was raised when personal risk on a section of road was one standard deviation above the national mean.

When registering all deaths and serious injuries, Masterton roads were ranked the fourth most dangerous in New Zealand, with a personal risk of nine, compared to the national mean of seven.

Wairarapa districts were in the red ‘cause for concern’ zone 10 times, out of a total of 15 categories.

In addition to the 10 red-zone appearances, Wairarapa appeared twice in the orange zone, between 0.5 and one standard deviation up from the national mean.

Wairarapa Road Safety Council manager Bruce Pauling said that although the numbers should be taken with a grain of salt, there was still room for improvement.

“Basically, the risk register is an indication — communities and road safety partners look at it and see if there’s some room for concern, and it offers them a template.

“But crashes can be random. If we had crashes that caused three or four injuries, such as if all the occupants were unrestrained, then it all goes into the pot.

“Because of the random nature, it highlights concerns, and it should.”

Personal risk is calculated by dividing the total number of fatal and serious crashes by 100 motor vehicle kilometres travelled.

Personal risk measured traffic volumes on each section of road and the likelihood of an average driver or rider being involved in a fatal or serious crash.

South Wairarapa scored poorly for motorcycle safety and Carterton for rural intersections. However, it wasn’t all doom and gloom, Pauling said.

“Young drivers are not of high concern, which is good to see.

“And in Carterton, they just put in some new signage to make an intersection safer.

“Our road deaths are trending down, but it’s up to road safety partners to lift our game and for councils to look at high-risk roads.”

However, Pauling stressed that drivers could not cast the blame on authorities for every crash.

“We can’t blame every crash on ‘killer roads’, Waka Kotahi [NZTA] is under a lot of pressure, and there’s not enough money to make every road absolutely foolproof.

“People have to mitigate risk for themselves. It’s up to each and every one of us to do our best.”

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