The road death toll for first responders. Video / NZ Herald
Police are investigating the death of a woman in a motorcycle crash on Auckland’s north coast this afternoon.
It is the latest fatality in what police have called an “absolutely horrific” string of now 19 deaths over 12 days, prompting drivers to slow down and avoid distractions.
The woman died at the crash scene near Stadium Drive in Albany just before 3:30 p.m.
“Tragically, the woman’s death has been confirmed,” police said. The matter was referred to the coroner.
Because an investigation is underway, the death has not yet been added to the vacation six-month road toll.
The official Christmas / New Years holiday period began at 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve and ends at 6 a.m. on January 5.
Two hours earlier, four people had been seriously injured in a crash involving two cars in the Waikato.
Emergency services rushed to State Highway 25 in Waitakaruru at around 1 p.m. The road reopened around 6 p.m.
“The Serious Crash Unit was present and the circumstances surrounding the incident are being investigated,” police said.
The crashes come a day after police pleaded with motorists to slow down and avoid distractions after a shocking wave of deaths on the country’s roads.
Police also confirmed today that a car in a crash in which five young children – aged 10 to 13 – were seriously injured, was stolen in Hamilton.
Four children remain in critical condition in the intensive care unit at Waikato Hospital after the crash in Matamata shortly before midnight Monday.
One of them is expected to be transferred to Starship Children’s Hospital in Auckland today. A fifth child remains in stable condition at Waikato Hospital.
Police said investigations also suggest the vehicle was linked to a burglary on Monday evening in Matamata.
Arriving at around 11:55 p.m. yesterday, police found the Nissan Tiida in a ditch on Morrinsville-Walton Rd with the five children outside the car.
It wasn’t the only serious accident yesterday.
Five people were injured in a crash on State Highway 1 near Dome Valley involving three vehicles.
A motorcyclist has died after an earlier accident in Huntly, also involving three cars, bringing the vacation road toll to six.
Assistant Commissioner Bruce O’Brien called the period “absolutely horrible” yesterday.
“It’s a really tragic start… we still see the same trends; excessive speeding, impaired by alcohol, drugs or fatigue, people still using distraction devices such as cell phones and people still not wearing their seat belts. “
There was always an increase in accidents during the holiday season, but O’Brien agreed that Covid-19 has made the year even longer for people.
“In December and January, the risk of accidents increases as people set off on unfamiliar roads they may not have taken before.
“It’s been a long year for everyone in the country with Covid, so fatigue sets in, traveling long distances, it’s hot, people get impatient and then they make bad decisions, speed up or overtake in really dangerous places and that just puts itself at a very high risk of committing suicide or killing someone else. “