Road Crash Data

  • The toll is so high that the British FCO has issued an advisory to its citizens about New Zealand (see bottom of page)
  • “Youth drink-driving is one of the largest causes of death and injuries in New Zealand roads. Each year, young drivers cause nearly half of all alcohol-related road crashes.” Quote from NZTA website (March 2011) source
  • A Ministry of Transport report showed that between 2005 and 2009, 642 people were killed in crashes where high-risk drivers were at fault. These drivers were defined as unlicensed and disqualified drivers, those with previous speed and alcohol offences, or those who engage in high-risk behaviour (eg driving with a high blood alcohol content, evading enforcement or illegal street racing) at the time of the crash. Source
  • An addendum to the report which showed that when at-fault young drivers who are not already classified as high risk are added to high-risk drivers, together they comprise 53 percent of at-fault drivers in fatal crashes and 48 percent of at-fault drivers in fatal and serious injury crashes. “These two groups together cause about half of the deaths and serious injuries on our roads.” Source
  • New Zealand’s youth are over represented in road fatality figures. The country has the highest death rate for 0-14 year olds, and the second highest rate for 15-17 year olds in the OECD.
  • Sixteen people have died so far this year after vehicle pursuits by police (Oct 2010) “An international expert in police pursuits says New Zealand’s policy which enables high-speed chases for minor offences is 20 years out of date. A police review of pursuit policy this year – the fourth in six years – ignored key recommendations of the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) and made only minor changes.”  “Road safety campaigner, the Candor Trust, says police pursuits have increased five-fold in the past seven years to 2500 last year.”NZ Herald

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 2010210 (13 July 2010)
  • Death in the past 12 months – 389 (13 July 2010)
  • Social costs of  crashes 2008 – $4,293,000,000. source
  • Total population of NZ –4,311,000.

For further information please see NZ Transport Agency statistics

Other stastics compared to OECD Countries (source)

According to a recent report, New Zealand had 8.6 deaths on its roads per 100,000 people, just more than the OECD average of 8.1. that’s one death for every 11,000 people in New Zealand. For injury-causing accidents, New Zealand had one for every 367 people in 2008.

Road fatalities per 100,000:
Netherlands: 4.1
Britain: 4.3
Australia: 6.8
OECD average: 8.1
New Zealand: 8.6
United States: 12.3
Poland: 14.7

Road fatalities per 100,000 for zero- to 14-year-olds:
Iceland: 0
OECD average: 1.4
New Zealand, Greece and Poland: 2.6

Road fatalities per 100,000 for 65 and older:
Britain: 5
Sweden: 6.3
New Zealand: 9.3
OECD average: 11.3
Norway: 18.4
Korea: 37.1

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office has 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 <a title=”” href=””>Driving Abroadpage.”

* 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

You might also like:

5 thoughts on “Road Crash Data


    “According to an article on Boston University’s website, during orientation all students are advised of the risks of driving on New Zealand’s roads. The article says the students are advised not to rent cars, and if they do they are warned to be extremely careful, “because New Zealand roads are not the best in the world”.

    A check of Boston U websites reveals that this information has since been wiped. Who’s surprised?

  2. The thoughts of the team at E2NZ are with the families and friends of the dead and injured.

    So many young and promising lives cut short on what was supposed to be a happy occasion, a holiday and a chance to see something of the world. For the many nationalities involved, the world is sharing your loss and grieving with you, your loss is ours also.

    Our thoughts are also with the families and friends of the people lost in the Bangladesh ferry sinking, many of them children. Another sad day for us all.

  3. A national day of mourning has been declared in Belgium for the crash victims. Words cannot express the grief felt here today, this is heartbreaking for us all.

  4. My deepest condolences to the families of the people in this horrible accident. The whole of Europe was mourning today 😦

Comments are closed.