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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

 Road safety graph 2019

Year Social cost of road injury crashes per person (June 2018 dollars($))
2004 1,462
2005 1,767
2006 1,554
2007 1,923
2008 1,658
2009 1,454
2010 1,353
2011 1,332
2012 1,196
2013 923
2014 1,065
2015 1,273
2016 1,256
2017 1,265

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 was a long-term 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.
  • However, the latest available 2017 national data show a rapid annual increase in the total social cost of motor vehicle injury crashes, underpinned by increases in the number of crashes across all severity types. Subsequent monitoring will reveal whether this is an anomaly or an adverse trend.
  • 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. 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 2018 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 on long term New Zealand road toll trends.

Update details: Annual data are reported to 2017, with 2018 results expected in December 2019.

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