The city of Canterbury in New Zealand has seen a reduction in road fatalities with 32 road crash deaths reported in 2009 compared with 48 in 2008, according to a study.

The figures, from the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) study of crashes from 2005 to 2009 in the Canterbury region, show there were 7,240 injury crashes, including 191 fatal crashes and 1,487 serious injury crashes.

There has been a rise in fatal and serious injury crashes in the region in the last three years, but the 2009 data shows the lowest road fatalities for a decade.

The study notes loss of control / head-on crashes on corners and straight roads as the major causes of death and serious injury; these crashes caused 145 deaths in the Canterbury area during the study period.

Young drivers accounted for nearly a third of road fatalities and the study proposes safety measures such as a zero alcohol limit, and 120hr of supervised driving time for beginners.

As part of the Safer Journey’s Road Safety Strategy, work will be carried out to install signage, speed limits and road markings to help reduce the severity of crashes.