Road Safety Week ends, work continues

In News4 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJune 2, 2023

Key government agencies and road safety partners Waka Kotahi, NZ Police, Ministry of Transport, ACC and Auckland Transport, are reinforcing to Aotearoa that road safety is a daily, year-round focus.

“On average, one person is killed every day on New Zealand’s roads. That’s someone’s son or daughter, mother or father, friend, co-worker. This loss of life is simply unacceptable, which is why we focus on improving road safety every single day,” said Fabian Marsh, senior manager road safety, Waka Kotahi.

“For Waka Kotahi that means increasing delivery of life-saving infrastructure like median barriers on the side of the road and safety platforms. Ultimately, reducing road trauma requires a mix of solutions that all combine to keep people safe, including safe and appropriate speed limits, safe road and street design, safer vehicles and encouraging good driver choices and behaviours.”

As part of promotional efforts throughout the week, Waka Kotahi launched its new Safe speeds around schools education plan (a resource for teachers of Year 1-8 students); and worked with rally car driver Hayden Paddon to develop road safety messaging to run on his social media sites.

Director of Road to Zero, Bryan Sherritt, from the Ministry of Transport, said the government’s road safety strategy is all about combining the resources of advocates (like Paddon) and road safety agencies in a systematic approach, acknowledging that people are vulnerable and make mistakes, to drive down deaths and serious injuries through a range of measures. Aside from median barriers, these also include the installation of rumble strips on the side of the road and the use of raised platforms.

“Preventing deaths and serious injuries is about more than just how we drive – it is about how all the various parts of the system work together to protect people from road trauma,” he said.

Prevention is also the key focus of Drive, an online learning tool for young drivers, managed in partnership by Waka Kotahi and ACC. Another injury prevention programme ACC runs is Ride Forever coaching programme for motorcyclists.

Data shows young drivers who have used the Drive programme as part of the licensing process make about 40% fewer ACC claims than those who have not used the programme.

Motorbike riders who have completed a Ride Forever course are up to 50% less likely to lodge a motorcycle accident claim than non-trained riders.

ACC injury prevention leader James Whitaker said the programmes aim to keep Kiwis safe on our roads.

“No one needs to be harmed on New Zealand’s roads,” he said. “Crashes, injuries and road-related deaths are all preventable.”

National Road Policing Centre Director Superintendent Steve Greally said Police’s efforts to enforce the law on our roads remains a constant and important focus too. Front line staff including our dedicated road policing teams are out on the roads every day with the intention of preventing harm and trauma due to crashes.

“Like our road safety partners, we want to see all road users across Aotearoa travel to and from their destinations safely.

“Almost everyday people are losing their lives through poor choices behind the wheel – it’s not only relevant to long weekends, but sadly, it’s almost an everyday occurrence. Police is committed to playing its part in preventing trauma and unapologetically enforcing the laws to ensure it is working towards safer roads.”