Multiple fatality ‘easily preventable’, says safety campaigner

Last Monday’s multiple fatality near Huntly could have been prevented by simple changes in rules and technology, says the car review website

Brisbane holidaymaker Stephen Phillips, together with his partner’s sons Jasper Williams, 14, and Ruben Williams, 12, were killed when their car collided with a truck on State Highway 1, after veering into the opposing lane. editor, Clive Matthew-Wilson, who is an outspoken road safety campaigner, says:

“Where was the median barrier, which would have prevented this head-on collision?”

Matthew-Wilson doesn’t accept that narrow roads prevent the installation of median barriers. Centennial Highway, near Wellington, is both narrow and busy, and was once one of the most dangerous roads in New Zealand. After a median barrier was installed, the carnage caused by head-on accidents abruptly ceased.

Matthew-Wilson also repeated his call for a compulsory stand-down of 24 hours before travellers from overseas are allowed to rent or buy cars.

“The police give out constant warnings about the dangers of fatigue when driving, yet tourists are free to fly in, rent a car and kill themselves. When do we decide that too many people have died this way?”

Matthew-Wilson believes a simple, computerised awareness test should be passed before anyone, including New Zealanders, is allowed to rent a car.

“I believe such a test would screen out tired or confused drivers. Yet, whenever the subject comes up, the government simply offers lame excuses.”

Matthew-Wilson blames the government for the rising road toll. He believes the government’s priorities are making money, with road safety a second priority.

“The government refuses to address the problem of thousands of tired tourists renting cars without restrictions. The government sees no problem with the fact that many of our busiest roads allow cars and trucks to collide head-on. That’s because the government is more interested in keeping the economy rolling than it is in protecting the lives of ordinary people.”