View Larger Map. The road through Broadwood
Yesterday we wrote about accident blackspots and the dangers presented by posts/poles on roadsides and how some simple measures (warning signs, speed limits, rumble strips, barriers along embankments etc) could reduce the high death and injury statistics on NZ roads. Hours later a French national was killed when the car she was driving failed to take a moderate bend, hit a tree and rolled down a bank.
Reports are that the woman is Eva Kosanic, aged 22. She hit the tree whilst travelling through Broadwood, 48km south east of Kaitaia. Police think that she was driving to Auckland to catch a flight back to Christchurch where she was an intern at Environmental Science and Research. She was due to return to France in the near future. Our thoughts are with her family and friends.
Whilst it's far too early to say why the crash happened we hope that accident investigators will be taking a close look at the road design, presence of warning signs, safety barriers and other relevant safety factors.
Update: A photo of her wrecked car is to the right, a report stated that she may have been in the car for two days before it was discovered.
Her death was the 25th on Northland roads this year, there were 23 last year.
View Larger Map
Eva wasn't the only person to be killed yesterday. Another person died in a single vehicle crash near Matamata racecourse in Waikato just before 11am.
According to the AA
- New Zealand's Road Safety to 2010 strategy forecasts that 42 lives a year could be saved by improvements in road engineering.
- Installing rumble strips on roads can reduce crashes by up to 27% by preventing run-off-road and head-on collisions.
- Installing a barrier along an embankment can reduce run-off-road casualty crashes by as much as 45%.
A Northland councillor has admitted that the regions roads are difficult to drive safely, so much so that he called for overseas drivers to undergo stringent testing before being allowed to use them and for visitors to be warned of the dangers:
" He suggested a one-day induction course be mandatory before overseas drivers got behind the wheel in New Zealand. Northland's roads were particularly challenging and visitors should be warned of the dangers. "They (the roads) are windy and much narrower than other places. Plus there are plenty of gravel roads they might come across and have absolutely no experience with....It should be noted that Eva was driving on a tarmacadamed stretch of road, to suggest that her death may be attributed in some way to her being a "french tourist" and therefore inexperienced is unbelievable. Eva had been living in NZ for some time before she met her death, she wasn't a 'tourist'.
...This year in Northland three foreigners have died in two separate crashes.
Swedish tourists Emelie Jenny Green and Theresia Andrea Johansson, both aged 20, died in a car crash on February 28 this year on the Brynderwyn Hills (ed. a notorious blackspot). The pair were heading south on State Highway 1 when they were going through a right-hand corner which had a 65km/h advisory speed sign in place. Their Nissan Sunny car spun a couple of times before crossing the centre-line into the path of a north-bound Holden Commodore.
In October a French tourist (ed. you mean Eva Kosanic?) was discovered by a passing motorist in a car partially submerged in a river near Broadwood, 48km south-east of Kaitaia"
At the time of the Swedish visitors deaths Whangarei Sergeant Chris Goodall said the road had a "decided history of loss of control accident whenever it rains." and that although the road was three lanes wide there was a tendency for people to "fall off" and to lose concentration.
We suggest that rather than trying to blame the victims Northland should get on and improve its road network for everyone's benefit. The AA has already said what needs to be done, why the delay?
See also - "Another death on New Zealand's Roads"