The Northern Advocate has published a story confirming that Spanish tourists were not at fault in a fatal accident on state highway 1, 4km north of Towai (the road between Whangarei and Paihia) on December 22.
Joan Roma Serra and his partner Eva Fajula Rovira from Torello, a town in Catalonia, were both 34 years old, died when the camper van they were driving hit a truck and trailer head-on.
Very often tourists are too easily blamed for road smashes in NZ – either because of their inexperience of local driving conditions or because they’re affected by jet-lag. It’s good to see accident investigators managing to look beyond the nationality of the driver before reaching a conclusion as to the cause of an ‘accident’. On this occasion the visitors were simply “in the wrong place at the wrong time” as it seems the truck was on their side of the road.
The stretch of road in question was said to be notorious among truck drivers, many of whom were wary of it. A temporary 70 km/hr limit has now been imposed, why this didn’t happen sooner is a mystery, perhaps the tourists’ deaths may have been avoided if it had been. Our deepest sympathies go out to the family and friends of the deceased couple for their sad loss.
Very often the nationality of tourists killed or injured on the roads isn’t released to the media and there seems to be no official data on the numbers of tourists involved every year, or of the types of vehicles they were driving. The true extent of the carnage may not be realised.
The last time we heard of Spanish tourists being injured was in August when a family, also travelling in a camper van, were injured in a smash in the Lindis Pass in Cantebury. The same month a French honeymooning couple were injured when their camper van collided with a logging truck north of Napier.
In another fatal smash in Northland in March two Swedish tourists were killed south of Whangarei just hours after they arrived in New Zealand (see blog post) at the time Whangarei police 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. The deceased were later named as 20 year old Emelie Jenny Green and Theresia Andrea Johansson.
According to the Herald it was the second fatal accident in the area in two days. Robert Watene, 22, died when his car and a truck collided on State Highway 1 near the Waipu turnoff, about 30km north of the Brynderwyn Hills.
In other posts we’ve highlighted on many occasions that according to AA information
- 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%.
Yet scores of crashes are still occurring. Even though accident blackspots are well known about deaths and serious injuries are still happening. What will it take to reduce the carnage on New Zealand’s roads?
Thinking of driving in NZ? See ‘Accident Blackspots’: what a few of NZ’s more infamous and unforgiving black spots look like.
Today’s posts – click here