Speed, belts, booze and driver inexperience all factors in Cambridge fatality

Tuesday 1 November 2011, 8:55AM
By New Zealand Police


Waikato Police are concerned the message just isn't sinking in following the latest alcohol related fatality on the District's roads claiming a young man's life near Cambridge on Sunday.

District Road Policing Manager, Inspector Leo Tooman, said though the crash is still under investigation, it appears speed, alcohol, not wearing seat belts and driver inexperience were all contributing factors.

"We're still awaiting toxicology results to confirm if the driver, 17-year-old Shannon Robert WAAKA, had been drinking before the crash, which happened on Leamington's Browning St around midnight on Sunday.

"In addition to Mr WAAKA'S death, a 20-year-old man travelling as a front seat passenger in the car was critically injured and is currently in Waikato Hospital's Intensive Care Unit."

Mr Tooman said two other passengers from the car were also taken by ambulance for hospital treatment.

"It appears the car was being driven at speed before it collided with a power-pole and spun out of control, its progress being halted by a tree on the front lawn of a family's home.

"Mr WAAKA was in breach of his restricted licence at the time of the crash and indications from the Serious Crash Unit, who returned to the scene yesterday, are that the car was travelling too fast for the conditions."

Mr Tooman said it is disappointing Police messages on the risks posed by recidivist drink drivers were being ignored.

"You've got to get the basics right; booze, belts, keeping left and speed, but we don't seem to be doing too well at that with 43 road deaths in the Waikato so far this year.

"The vehicle involved in the crash didn't belong to Mr WAAKA and we need to look at why he was driving it outside the conditions of his licence. We now have two families struggling to come to terms with what appears to be a completely avoidable tragedy.

Over the weekend there were 15 other drivers processed for driving with excess breath alcohol with the highest reading taken from a 43-year-old man in Ngaruawahia on Saturday night who blew 994mgms about 11.20pm.

"But it's not just during weekends when people are at risk. On Thursday afternoon a woman was stopped by Police near Morrinsville as she went to pick her children up from the school bus.

"When breath tested the 46-year-old woman returned a result of 579mgms, this occurred at 3.50pm meaning she was a risk not only to herself and other motorists but to her children as well."