Road traffic injury deaths and hospitalisations

This section presents statistics on road traffic injury deaths and hospitalisations, by mode of transport. 

Traffic-related deaths and injuries are the main health impact of road transport in New Zealand [1]. The New Zealand Burden of Disease Study found that transport injuries made up about 33% of overall health loss due to all injuries in New Zealand in 2006 [2].

Results are presented by transport mode. Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists are more vulnerable road users, as they tend to suffer more severe injuries from collisions. You can download factsheets from the download box.

On this page:

The number of traffic deaths increased from 2013 to 2017
Motorcyclists and cyclists were at higher risk of traffic injury mortality per time spent travelling
Males had higher death rates for road traffic injury
Māori had a higher traffic injury mortality rate than non-Māori
People living in more deprived areas had higher mortality rates of traffic injury
Large DHB differences in all traffic injury mortality 
Road traffic injury hospitalisations increased from 2014 to 2016
Māori and Pacific peoples had higher rates of road traffic injury hospitalisations
Higher rates of traffic injury hospitalisations in more deprived areas
Large DHB differences in traffic injury hospitalisations
Information about the data

The number of traffic deaths increased from 2013 to 2017

In 2017, there were 379 deaths due to traffic injuries. This included 274 vehicle occupant deaths, 46 motorcyclist deaths, 41 pedestrian deaths and 18 cyclist deaths.

The number of traffic deaths increased from 2013 (253 deaths) to 2017 (379 deaths). 

Figure 1:

Motorcyclists and cyclists were at higher risk of traffic injury mortality per time spent travelling

In 2011-2013, for every ten million hours travelled, there were 66.7 motorcyclist and 3.2 cyclist deaths, compared to 1.6 vehicle occupant and 1.5 pedestrian deaths (Figure 2).

Figure 2:

Over time, the risk of road traffic injury mortality per time travelled has decreased for vehicle occupants, pedestrians and cyclists. However, the mortality risk for motorcyclists increased from 2004-2006 to 2011-2013 (from 53 deaths per ten million hours, to 67 deaths per ten million hours).

Males had higher death rates for road traffic injury

During 2005-2014, males had significantly higher death rates than females for pedestrian, cyclist, motorcyclist and vehicle occupant injuries (Figure 3).

The death rate was especially high for male motorcyclists compared to females (1.8 vs 0.1 per 100,000 population).

Figure 3: 

Māori had a higher traffic injury mortality rate than non-Māori

In 2005-2014, Māori had significantly higher death rates for vehicle occupant injuries and pedestrian injuries than non-Māori.

Compared to non-Māori, the Māori death rate was 2.6 times as high (12.4 vs 4.8 per 100,000 population) for vehicle occupant injury, and 2.8 times as high (1.7 vs 0.6 per 100,000 population) for pedestrian injury (Figure 4).

Figure 4: 

People living in more deprived areas had higher mortality rates of traffic injury 

In 2010-2014, traffic injury mortality rates for vehicle occupants, pedestrians and motorcyclists generally increased with the socioeconomic deprivation (Figure 5).

Figure 5: 

Large DHB differences in all traffic injury mortality

In 2009-2014, West Coast, Tairawhiti and South Canterbury District Health Board (DHB) had the highest mortality rates for all traffic injuries (Figure 6). 

Figure 6: 

Road traffic injury hospitalisations increased from 2014 to 2016

In 2016, there were 3778 hospitalisations for road traffic injuries in New Zealand. This included 2334 vehicle occupant injury, 902 motorcyclist injury, 359 pedestrian injury and 156 cyclist injury hospitalisations. 

The hospitalisation rate for all road traffic injuries increased from 2014 to 2016 (Figure 7).  

Figure 7:

Māori and Pacific peoples had higher rates of road traffic injury hospitalisations

In 2014-16, Māori and Pacific Peoples had higher rates of vehicle occupant injury hospitalisations than Asians and European/Others (Figure 8). For motorcyclist injury hospitalisations, Māori and European/Others had the highest rates. 

Figure 8:

Higher rates of traffic injury hospitalisations in more deprived areas

In 2016, hospitalisation rates for vehicle occupant, motorcyclist and pedestrian injuries were higher for people living in more socioeconomically deprived areas (Figure 9).

Figure 9: 

Large DHB differences in traffic injury hospitalisations

In 2016, Northland and Tairawhiti District Health Boards (DHB) had the highest rates of traffic injury hospitalisations (Figure 10). In comparison, Capital and Coast DHB had the lowest rate.

Figure 10:

Information about the data

Road traffic injury mortality

Source: 

  • New Zealand road toll, Ministry of Transport
  • New Zealand Mortality Collection, Ministry of Health
  • New Zealand Household Travel Survey, Ministry of Transport. 

Definition: The number and rate of road traffic injury mortality, by mode of transport.  ‘All traffic injuries’ included occupant injury, motorcyclist injury, pedestrian injury, cyclist injury, other injury and unspecified injury.

For more information about this indicator, see our metadata sheet. For more information on the annual road toll, visit the Ministry of Transport's webpage on the Road toll.

Road traffic injury hospitalisations

Source:

  • National Minimum Dataset (NMDS), Ministry of Health

Definition: The number and rate of road traffic injury hospitalisations, by mode of transport.  ‘All traffic injuries’ included occupant injury (injury of driver or passenger of three or four-wheeled motor vehicles), motorcyclist injury, pedestrian injury, cyclist injury, other injury and unspecified injury.

For more information, see the metadata sheets in the download box. 

References

1. Briggs, D., Mason, K., Borman, B. 2016. Rapid assessment of environmental health impacts for policy support: The example of road transport in New ZealandInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 13: 61.

2. Ministry of Health and ACC. 2013. Injury-related Health Loss: A report from the New Zealand Burden of Diseases, Injuries and Risk Factors Study 2006–2016. Wellington: Ministry of Health.