There are over 400 deaths and 16,000 injuries from some 9,000 reported traffic accidents on New Zealand roads each year. There are also a large number of accidents which result in considerable damage to vehicles but which are not reported. By comparison with the records of some overseas countries where “damage only” accidents must be reported by law, it is estimated that there are 20,000 to 40,000 damage accidents a year with an average of more than £30 worth of damage to a vehicle.
The number of deaths and injuries increased by 84 per cent and 157 per cent respectively between 1950 and 1964. In the same period the number of motor vehicles has increased and the accident rate (injuries and deaths per 10,000 vehicles registered) has remained almost constant, except in 1964 when there was a sharp increase. The death rate per 10,000 vehicles in 1964 was considerably lower than in 1950.
The following table shows the trend of traffic accidents over the past 15 years.
|Year||Persons Killed||Persons Injured||Killed and Injured per 10,000 Vehicles|
Unfortunately, the road-accident figures for the half-year, January-June 1965, are disturbing, with 292 dead and 9,000–10,000 drivers, passengers, and cyclists injured. The fatalities for this period show a high increase in relation to that in traffic volume.
It is difficult to compare accident rates in New Zealand with those of other countries, because the reporting of accidents, the number of vehicles, the average milage run, the population, and the density of pedestrians all vary from country to country. Precise measures of these variables are often not available.
The following table compares New Zealand with three other countries and shows that on this basis New Zealand has a low accident rate.
|Motor Accident Death and Injury Rates, 1964|
|New Zealand||Australia||Britain||United States|
|Killed per 10,000 vehicles||4.6||8.0||6.3||5.5|
|Killed per 100,000||16.5||21.0||14.9||25.0|
|population Injured per 10,000 vehicles||174.5||256.0||306.9||195.4|
|Injured per 100,000 population||627.9||639.0||717.9||888.5|