$1.4b road plan only 'part of the puzzle' - road safety charity

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Monday, 17 December 2018, 7:51AM
Christmas traffic can make driving more risky.

Many of New Zealand's most dangerous roads will be made safer over the next three years under a $1.4 billion Government plan to reduce the number of road deaths and serious injuries.

Caroline Perry from road safety charity Brake told Tim Dower a large number of the crashes on our roads are simple mistakes. 

"There are a number of different causes for crashes on the roads and some of those do involve drovers taking risks like drink and drunk driving, speeding, those sorts of things but actually, a lot of the crashes and deaths and serious injuries that we do see are from people simply making mistakes on our roads."

"It's not that they are specifically displaying risky behaviour but they might have misread the road or not driven to the conditions of the road and they have made a mistake. So these sorts of measures and this investment is great to see because it's about when people make mistakes, reducing the severity of the outcome."

"We are all human and we do make mistakes and we need to recognise that drivers make mistakes, other road users make mistakes and these sort of measure are helping...the roads to be more forgiving and to stop that mistake from resulting in someones' death or serious injury."

She said this funding is only a "part of the puzzle" and won't solve all our problems, but it's a start.

"We are driving more often, we are driving further than we have before and we do see...at this time of year, a lot of people are going out on the roads more often. Over the Christmas period, lots of people will take road trips to visit family and friends, we have more visitors to the country s we have more visitors on the roads."

"So we need things like safe speed limits that match the road condition and environment. We need to look at our vehicles and have safer vehicles with high safety ratings and also, as road users, we know that everyone has a part to play in terms of wearing seatbelts, not drink or drunk driving, driving to the conditions, and not driving distracted."

License retesting could help improve road safety but more research is needed, Perry said.

New Zealand's high road toll has been under scrutiny, as the number of people slain in road accidents has rocketed upwards since 2013.

On average one person a day is dying on the roads and every hour someone is seriously injured, Twyford said.

The programme will target an estimated $600m to $700m of state highway safety improvements and $700m to $800m of local road safety improvements. Once complete, the improvements are expected to prevent 160 deaths and serious injuries every year.

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