Road toll is the term used in some countries for the number of deaths caused annually by road accidents. The term is in common and official use in Australia and New Zealand. For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Australia topics. New Zealand is an Island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses (the North Island and the South Island
New Zealand reports an annual nationwide road toll, plus special period figures for a number of holiday periods:
The road toll includes deaths which occur within 7 days of a road accident as a result of injuries received in the accident. Deaths of pedestrians and cyclists are included, but deaths from vehicular accidents not on legal roads (e. g. on farms) are excluded.
The New Zealand road toll exhibited a downward trend between 1990 and 2002, which was attributed to a number of factors:
Since 2002, the main focus of road policing changed, concentrating mainly on reduction of average road speed. Despite extensive public education, heavy policing and a marked improvement in the road fleet, the downward trend previously evident has ceased. Many commentators state the current policy is counter-productive and advocate a return to a three-pronged road safety effort, with education and engineering taking precedence over enforcement.
It has become a tradition to mark the sites of fatal accidents on highways and rural roads with small white wooden crosses. There has been public debate over this as Land Transport New Zealand is considering removing the crosses on some roads, claiming that they constitute a hazard via distraction. Others claim that they remind drivers to take care.
In Australia the road toll is reported at a state level. Similar to New Zealand, Australia also reports national figures for special holidays, though usually only for the Christmas and Easter holiday periods.