Dangers of beach driving resurface

Crashed vehicle being removed from Muriwai Beach. Photo: Daniel Hines
Crashed vehicle being removed from Muriwai Beach. Photo: Daniel Hines

Last week four men were killed when the vehicle they were in rolled on Auckland’s Muriwai beach.

Driving on beaches in New Zealand is a common practice, with no law stopping people from doing it. However, a permit is necessary to drive on Muriwai beach just west of Auckland.

But after four men, two 31-year-olds and two others aged 26 and 27, were killed after their Mitsubishi Pajero crashed at high-speed at the popular beach last Sunday, the issues surrounding beach driving have resurfaced.

Following the fatal accident, police are now working on the terms and conditions of whether a vehicle should be allowed on beaches. Sergeant Russell Mitchell of Kumeu police says it hasn’t stopped people from driving on beaches in the past.

“A big issue that came out of it is that a lot of people who have broken the rules for years think they’re entitled to and were pretty surprised at the fact we were running this operation.The message being sent out is just because drivers have done this for years doesn’t mean it’s legal,” Mitchell told the New Zealand Herald.

This year, New Zealand has seen the highest number of deaths following beach crashes since 2000.

Beach crashes by numbers: 

2015: 7 dead; 5 serious injuries; 3 minor injuries

2014: 0 dead; 9 serious injuries; 7 minor injuries

2013: 0 dead; 6 serious injuries; 11 minor injuries

2012: 1 dead; 7 serious injuries; 5 minor injuries

2011: 0 dead; 7 serious injuries; 7 minor injuries

(Source: Ministry of Transport)


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