Monday, January 1, 2001

Road Crash Data

Publicly available data on road death and injuries in New Zealand is as follows
  • 366 deaths and 15,266 injuries (2560 serious and 12,706 minor injuries) in 2008. Official NZTA figures.* please see below
  • Crash rate of 26 and a casualty rate of 36 people per 10,000 population. 5 year averaged data.
  • Total deaths in 2009 - 384.
  • Deaths so far in 2010 - 29, same period last year - 20.
  • Social costs of crashes 2008 -  $4,293,000,000. link
  • Total population of NZ - 4,311,000.

For further information please see NZ Transport Agency statistics

NZ is the Second Worst Place in World for Road Deaths from car occupant collisions
Statistics gathered by the site place New Zealand as the second highest country in the world for deaths resulting from car occupant collision with car, pick-up truck or van (per capita) with 35.6877 deaths per million people. Way ahead of the USA which is ranked 15, Australia 17 and UK 37.

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office have issued the following NZ Travel Advice: link
Local Travel

"There have been a number of tragic accidents involving British visitors; these also include extreme sporting accidents. If you intend to participate in extreme sports you should check that the company is well established in the industry and your insurance covers you. If you intend visiting remote areas, you should check with local tourist authorities for advice before setting out. You should ensure that you register your details with a Visitor Information Centre or family or friends. Weather conditions can quickly become treacherous in some areas and you should keep yourself informed of regional weather forecasts.

Road Travel

Whilst road conditions are generally good in New Zealand, it takes a little while to get used to local driving conditions.

In 20078there were 366 road deaths in New Zealand (source: DfT).  This equates to 8.6 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 4.3 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2008.

You are advised to read a copy of the Road Code (the official guide to traffic rules and traffic safety) before driving.  Particular attention should be given to the section covering the right of way rules, which are different from other countries.  UK driving licences are valid for use for a maximum of 12 months.

Motor insurance is not a legal requirement in New Zealand.  Therefore, even though the UK has a reciprocal Healthcare Agreement with New Zealand, private accident insurance is recommended.  This is because New Zealand law has removed the right of accident victims to sue a third party in the event of an accident.  Instead the Accident Compensation Commission (ACC) helps pay for your care if you are injured as the result of an accident.  However, the ACC only covers the cost of treatment in New Zealand and delayed travel or loss of income in a third country is not covered.

For further information see our Driving Abroad page."
 * Official Statistics for serious road injuries may be unreliable. A report by the University of Otago compared police crash reports to hospital discharge data and concluded that injuries were often wrongly classified by police. They estimated that approximately 15% of injuries incorrectly classified as minor were actually life threatening.

In one NZTA report the number of serious injuries reported by police was compared to the number of people admitted to hospital with serious injuries. For the whole of the country only 34% of serious accidents were reported by police in 2008, the lowest areas for reporting were Northland 31%, Auckland 16%, Bay of Plenty 27%, Gisborne 26% and Manawatu-Wanganui 34%. The highest reporting was in Wellington at 64%. Therefore we suggest that any official data for serious injuries be treated with caution.

See also
Cycling dangers in New Zealand - see posts tagged Cycling
New Zealand Herald's Road Accidents Archive
New Zealand's dangerous roads
NZ's roads described as 'killing fields' after 14 fatalities over ANZAC weekend

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