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  Community » Waikato Progress Indicators - Tupuranga Waikato » Report cards » Road safety

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Improving trend    IMPROVING TREND

The annual social cost of road injury crashes per person in the Waikato region fell between 2007 and 2013 but has risen again in recent years.

This indicator is the estimated annual social costs of road injury crashes per person in the Waikato region.

Why is this indicator important?

The rate of injury or death from motor vehicle accidents is a concern for motorists, pedestrians, cyclists and other road users. Examining the number and social cost of fatalities and serious injuries occurring each year in this region helps us to assess risks and find ways to reduce the harm these incidents cause to people. Higher crash rates on our region’s roads also puts increased pressure on support systems and other resources such as healthcare or financial assistance for those who are unable to work due to injury.

Road safety

 Bar graph of social cost of road crashes in the Waikato region

Year Social cost of road injury crashes per person (June 2017 dollars($))
2004 1,425
2005 1,721
2006 1,513
2007 1,870
2008 1,614
2009 1,417
2010 1,261
2011 1,229
2012 1,108
2013 846
2014 980
2015 1,180
2016 1,193

What is this indicator telling us? 

  • Over the period 2007 to 2013, despite population growth, there was a declining rate of fatal, serious and minor road injury crashes in the Waikato region and, hence a reduced social cost per person. Over recent years this trend appears to have been reversed, but the social cost of road injury crashes remains well below its 2007 peak.
  • Nationally, there has been a substantial decline in the rate of road fatalities since 1990 due to improvements in vehicle safety, relatively fewer motorcycles and investment in more and better roads, along with road safety advertising, breath testing and lower speeds.
  • The frequency and severity of road injury crashes in the Waikato region remains high compared to, for example, Wellington and Auckland. This is at least partly due to the rural nature of the region and major highways crossing the region.

Check out related information on our website and other organisations’ websites listed on our Waikato Progress Indicators’ Useful Links page.


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The Ministry of Transport calculates the annual estimates of the ‘social cost’ of road crashes and injuries, which are based on loss of life and life quality, loss of output due to temporary incapacitation, medical costs, legal costs and vehicle damage costs. The estimates account for changes in the mix of crashes by area and severity; the average number of injuries received in a crash; any inflationary effects and any changes in the levels of non-reporting.

The loss of life component is estimated by the amount of money that the members of the New Zealand population would be willing to pay for a safety improvement which results in the expected avoidance of one premature death (i.e. willingness-to-pay method).

Regional time series in current prices are from a custom request to the Ministry of Transport. Secondary data on the average social cost of road crashes and injuries per region are also available in annual reports on the Ministry of Transport website(external link). Note that the time series is retrospectively updated each year to account for revised crash and injury data as well as price rebasing

The regional real social cost data were divided by regional population estimates from Statistics New Zealand NZDot.Stat website (subnational (RC) population estimates at 30 June using 2017 RC boundaries), to arrive at real social cost per capita estimates. 

Note the time series may be retrospectively updated from time to time, for example following the New Zealand Census.

You can also read the Ministry of Transport’s Infometrics Ltd analysis report(external link) on long term New Zealand road toll trends.

Update details: Annual data are reported to 2016, with 2017 results expected in December 2018.

Customised data request requirements: Ministry of Transport time series in latest dollar terms for the annual social cost of injury crashes – fatal, serious, minor and total – for Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Wellington and New Zealand. Note that publication of the social cost estimates requires Ministerial approval, hence this customised request can only be finalised once such approval has been granted, typically in November/December each year. 


Territorial Authority (TA) disaggregation: No 

Other regions: Yes 

New Zealand: Yes 

Other countries/ Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD): No

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