Too many people are dying on rural roads is the message from Waikato Police as they review the District's road toll, which is currently equal highest in the country.
Road Policing Manager, Inspector Marcus Lynam, said that with 44 deaths from 40 crashes the Waikato has had the same number of fatalities as the combined Auckland metropolitan area and Central Police District.
"When you consider the population of greater Auckland and that Central District incorporates the cities of Palmerston North, New Plymouth and Wanganui, the Waikato's road toll with just one city in its borders is far too high.
"Of particular concern for us is that of the 40 fatal crashes so far this year, 15 happened on small rural roads while another 18 happened in rural locations on State Highways."
Mr Lynam said it's not just Police concerned about risks on rural roads, the latest Kiwi Road Assessment Programme (KiwiRAP) identified concerns with three Waikato roads including SH1 from Huntly to Hamilton, which was rated the highest risk road in the country.
"Other high risk roads included SH29 from the Kaimai Ranges to Tauranga of which a small part falls in the Waikato Police District and a section of SH2 between Mangatarata and Maramarua.
"To help reduce the risks on our roads Police work with partner agencies to make a safer environment for all road users. In December last year the speed limit on parts of SH2 were reduced from 100km/h down to 90km/h while other changes include;
SH1 - Te Rapa and Cambridge south approach (80km down to 60km)
SH23 - Whatawhata (80km zone extended)
SH25 - Te Mata, Te Rerenga, Kuaotunu south and west approaches, Wharekaho, Whitianga south approach and Whangamata north approach (Various reductions)
SH29 - Te Poi (70km zone extended)"
Mr Lynam said that while more Police officers would be out on Waikato roads, when it came to drinking and driving the public can play a crucial part in preventing loved ones being seriously injured or killed while behind the wheel.
"Everyone has the right to travel on the road safely, whether by car, motorcycle, bicycle or on foot. If your friend or loved one is driving drunk then it is up to you to tell them it's not acceptable.
"Road safety is a shared responsibility. Achieving lasting changes in road safety requires law enforcement, government, industry and the community to work together. We all need to change the way we think and act about road safety."
44 deaths in 40 crashes
22 fatal crashes resulting in 26 deaths linked to failing to keep in lane or crossing centre line
12 fatal crashes resulting in 15 deaths where persons had been consuming alcohol, using drugs or both
8 deaths attributed to not wearing a seatbelt or person being properly restrained.
Over 250 road trauma related serious injuries suffered by people in road crashes in the Waikato
Average cost of a fatal road crash in the Waikato $4.32 million
Average cost of each life $3.67 million
Average cost of a major road trauma victim's treatment is $3000-$6000 per day
Excluding surgery, nursing care and rehabilitation, the average cost of a 14 day stay in intensive care is $50,000
3 pedestrians have died on Waikato roads so far this year
14 persons travelling as passengers in vehicles have died in fatal road crashes in the Waikato so far this year.