Bad roads are killing innocent motorists - expert

Friday 6 January 2012, 1:24PM
By Dog & Lemon Guide

Today’s serious crash on a notorious stretch of State Highway 1 near Paraparaumu could easily have been prevented, says a leading road safety campaigner.

Clive Matthew-Wilson, editor of the car review website, says the high number of serious injuries and deaths will continue on the unprotected sections of the highway until median barriers are installed.

Today’s incident was the latest in a series of serious accidents on this stretch of highway, most of them caused by one car crossing into the path of another vehicle coming from the opposite direction. 17-year-old Kelly Thompson was killed in the same spot on September 30.

Matthew-Wilson says:
Scientific studies show beyond doubt that many head-on collisions are easily preventable.”

“When a wire rope median barrier was installed on the nearby Centennial highway, most of the serious injuries and deaths stopped overnight. Yet, just up the road from the Centennial highway, where today’s accident occurred, the government recently cancelled plans for further barriers. ”

“The government should make these wire rope barriers its top priority, far ahead of building new roads that may not be ready for years.”

Matthew-Wilson adds:
“For as long as there have been cars, there have been angry, tired and distracted drivers who tragically die due to a single moment’s inattention. I think that, in 100 years time, children will scarcely believe that, in the 21st century, cars were able to speed past each other in opposite directions at 100km/h, with nothing to stop those vehicles colliding.”

“Using simple, affordable barriers, we can stop common driver mistakes from becoming fatal head-on collisions. Yet the government is canceling the very projects that have been proven to save lives. This is utter madness.”

• The New Zealand Transport Agency recently cancelled plans to install two, one-kilometre wire rope barriers on State Highway 1 between Otaihanga and Waikanae and another between Paekakariki and McKays Crossing, citing lack of funds.