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Northland has achieved its lowest road toll on record, with seven deaths on the region's roads last year.
The earliest records date back to 1970 and since then Northland has never recorded below 20 deaths. The road toll of 22, recorded in 1971 and in 2010, was the previous lowest toll on record.
Relieving Road Policing Manager Senior Sergeant Steve Dickson says the region has averaged 34 deaths on the roads each year.
"Against an average year, this means that there is another 27 people walking around in 2012 that would not be here if we had not made a difference on our roads.
One death has a ripple effect on 500 others, so that's 13,500 people who have not been impacted by someone dying on the road."
Mr Dickson says the record low road toll has been brought about through the combined efforts of many people working in road safety.
The Police thank their partners – New Zealand Transport Agency, Whangarei, Kaipara and Far North District Councils, Northland Regional Council, Road Safe Northland, Fire and Ambulance staff and volunteers, Plunket, Far North Rural Education Activities Program, and The Northland Road Safety Association.
Some credit is also due to the commitment of Northland Police staff to enforce the road rules and in turn change driver behaviour, plus the work of partner agencies in educating the public on safe driving.
Engineering improvements on Northland's roads have also played a part in encouraging safer driving. These include lowering the speed limit on the Brynderwyns, erecting barriers on Western Hills Drive, and placing directional arrows on main roads.
Mr Dickson says many people on our communities have also taken on board the messages, which has assisted in improving driver behaviour.
"Police have received positive feedback regarding driver behaviour, including people sticking to the speed limits, not drinking and driving, driving to the conditions and reporting poor driver practices. The challenge now is for all Northlanders to continue working hard to keep the road toll as low as possible.”