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Speed limits may drop on dangerous roads

Photo: RNZ/Alexander Robertson.

Speed limits on the most dangerous roads could drop to 80km per hour as the government seeks to combat the high number of road deaths.

Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter says the government's Vision Zero road safety plan seeks to drop the number of road deaths by half in the next decade.

One way to do that will be by reducing the speed limit on some roads, and the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) is already working to identify which roads should have lower speed limits.

"In the government policy statement, we identified rolling out the safe and appropriate speeds as identified in the speed management guide," Julie Anne says.

"We wouldn't have a blanket reduction. What is important is that we're going to focus on the most dangerous roads, revising them to have a safe and appropriate speed limit, and making it easier for local councils to get a safe and appropriate speed limit.

"At the moment, they have to go through a lot of bureaucratic hoops to get the speed limit changed. It should be easy, straightforward, and quick to change it to an appropriate speed limit."

Julie Anne spoke to RNZ about the international Road Safety Week which begins today, and discussed ways the government hopes to make roads safer.

She says roads will be improved with better safety features.

"We're already making progress on this in terms of investing in cost effective safety upgrades right around the country," Julie Anne says.

"We have the $1.4 billion work programme, which is all about median barriers, side barriers, wider shoulders, wider centre lines, rumble strips, all things which are proven to reduce fatal and serious injury crashes.

"That will cover thousands of kilometres of our road network over the next three years."

But Julie Anne says it is "no secret that many of the posted speed limits are not a safe speed limit to travel at" on New Zealand roads.

Julie Anne Genter. Photo: RNZ.

As of last night, 144 people had died on the roads this year, a number that is tracking higher than the 377 who died on the road last year.

Asked if lowering speed limits would be a brave move, Julie Anne says people will understand.

"I have a slightly different view. I actually think there are lots of New Zealanders and a lot of visitors to New Zealand who are driving around on our roads who would be much happier with a more appropriate speed limit," she says.

"It's actually less stressful to drive on a road when you're able to travel at a safe speed limit and not be under pressure to travel at a faster speed.

"There will be a percentage of the population, a minority, who aren't happy with this. But I actually think there'll be a silent majority who are quite in favour and say, actually, it's the right thing to do."

Julie Anne says the NZTA is reviewing the speed limit on many roads, and has already signed off on a number of speed limit reviews.

She says it would only be on the "most dangerous roads where it is going to save lives".

-RNZ/Ben_Strang

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8 Comments
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Road carnage stat's

Posted on 07-05-2019 10:32 | By Mal C

How come the NZTA get away with non nonsensical decisions year after year? They totally ignore the actual statistics which show that speeding drivers do not rate as the major fatal numbers. Focus on inattention, driving habits, driver education, review the driving experience and history of those who are having the accidents. For heavens sake look at the amazing number of accidents round our Tauranga area every day, this is not bad road or speeding it is poor decision making, lack of understanding on how to use roundabouts, and of course distraction in the car!

Fair enough

Posted on 06-05-2019 18:20 | By Blasta

Good call. I do wonder how this will impact on a busy road like the one between KatiKati and Tauranga. Obviously a lower speed will make it safer to get onto the state highway from a side road but I am wondering if the whole road will just become grid locked with no spaces at all to try and merge into? I don’t know, am only wondering out loud so please be nice in your comments!

Totally disagree

Posted on 06-05-2019 16:52 | By Bay Citizen

No, no, no. I totally disagree with this and I certainly don’t think that "lots of New Zealanders... would be much happier with a more appropriate speed limit". People driving with due care at between 80 and 100kmh are not the ones causing accidents. It is the ones going significantly more than 100, or recklessly overtaking, or losing concentration, or being drunk who cause the accidents.

someone should tell Govt

Posted on 06-05-2019 15:41 | By noj

Haven’t they worked out yet that its the drivers ability (or lack of) that is the main problem - not the speed limits or the roads. Spend their energy training and educating drivers instead of pouring funds into things that are proving to be unsuccessful

Mr

Posted on 06-05-2019 15:31 | By Anton

To me the only thing what is needed to get the road toll down is learn people to drive,How many drivers know how to indicate on a roundabout, keep to the left unless passing on motorway, that are only two things from many rules what not seems to be known by many drivers.See the program on TV where people are trying to get their drivers license, it a laugh.And they are allowed to drive, ridiculous.

Dangerous Roads

Posted on 06-05-2019 13:06 | By Dino

Please tell me what denotes a dangerous road? Does the road jump up at you and make you cross the white line into on coming traffic? does it make you slam into a tree? Lowering the speed limit will have the opposite effect as people will become frustrated and make stupid and rash mistakes - my point is it not the roads fault - driver error is the only issue here - less speed, less mobile phone use, you are not the only person on the road - be considerate of others - give yourself more time to get to places - don’t rush or over extend yourself - education of drivers is the only real solution - stop blaming an inanimate object that only ever does its job!!!

drive

Posted on 06-05-2019 12:03 | By dumbkof2

there is no such thing as dangerous roads, only dangerous drivers. Simple drive to the conditions prevailing at the time

Safety Technology

Posted on 06-05-2019 11:08 | By Gaz

Umm white painted line versus Median Barrier? One can save lives, and the other can kill. Not new technology, and well utilised in many other countries.