Leading up to the New Zealand Federal Election, the Australasian College of Road Safety (ACRS) urges all political parties and their leaders to place road safety at the forefront of their priorities, considering the alarming increase in road related death and serious injuries that highlight the immediate need for comprehensive action.
The key priorities required are:
- Fully implement the Speed Management Guide to ensure safe speeds on all roads.
Speeding remains one of the major contributing factors to road crashes in New Zealand. To decrease fatalities and serious injuries on New Zealand’s roads, it’s vital to manage speed limits according to road conditions. A reduction in speed limits across the country, in-line with Safe System principles is essential.
- Increase and improve enforcement and penalties.
Currently, New Zealanders believe the risks and penalties for unsafe behaviour within the road environment are low. Increased enforcement through speed cameras, point to point cameras, mobile phone and seat belt cameras is essential, along with effective penalties.
- Improve detection of and responses to drink driving.
A zero-tolerance approach to drink driving can lead to a safer environment and provide better health and economic outcomes for both government and communities. Increased enhanced enforcement through random breath testing, increased fines and the use of alcohol interlock systems are essential.
- Improve infrastructure and road conditions to prevent crashes.
The same principles around infrastructure and road conditions apply to road safety problems in both rural and urban areas. The road environment and supporting infrastructure must be properly funded and designed to prevent crashes, deaths, and serious injuries.
- Make the transport system safe for everyone to use.
Safety should be ensured for all transport modes: from cars and trucks to bicycles and pedestrians. Enhancing safety measures for vulnerable road users in particular, leads to wider transport ecosystem benefits and implementing 30 km/hr limits in built-up areas, footpaths, cycle lanes, and other infrastructure, alongside efficient public transport, ensures safety and sustainability.
These priorities are explained in detail in the ACRS New Zealand Road Safety Election Platform document found here.
“The upcoming General election is an opportune moment for the nation to reassess its priorities. Road safety is not just a matter of policy; it’s about safeguarding the lives of every New Zealander. We urge the next government to act swiftly and ensure this happens.” ACRS CEO Dr Ingrid Johnston urged.
The ACRS remains committed to its goal of reducing road fatalities and serious injuries in Australasia. We call upon the New Zealand public to hold their representatives accountable and to demand that road safety remains a top priority.