Speed limits on 'most dangerous roads' will drop – Genter

by Ben Strang / 06 May, 2019
Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

RelatedArticlesModule - road toll

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 said 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," Ms Genter said.

"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."

Ms Genter spoke to RNZ about the International Road Safety Week which begins today, and discussed ways the government hopes to make roads safer.

She said 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," Ms Genter said.

"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 Ms Genter said it was "no secret that many of the posted speed limits are not a safe speed limit to travel at" on New Zealand roads.

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, Ms Genter said 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 said.

"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."

Ms Genter said the NZTA is reviewing the speed limit on many roads, and has already signed off on a number of speed limit reviews.

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

This was first published on Radio NZ.


Pulitzer Prize winner Jared Diamond on the need for nationhood
105738 2019-05-18 00:00:00Z History

Pulitzer Prize winner Jared Diamond on the need fo…

by Andrew Anthony

Jared Diamond’s new book about empowering national identity to respond to crises is bound to tip off yet another controversy, but...

Read more
Jared Diamond: Finland shows how nations can survive adversity and thrive
105744 2019-05-18 00:00:00Z History

Jared Diamond: Finland shows how nations can survi…

by Jared Diamond

Today, Finland is one of the world’s richest countries, but it’s had to fight for it, as this edited extract from historian Jared Diamond’s new...

Read more
Musician Warren Maxwell returns to his roots to connect Wairarapa Māori
105544 2019-05-18 00:00:00Z Music

Musician Warren Maxwell returns to his roots to co…

by Sarah Catherall

Trinity Roots frontman Warren Maxwell is laying down history, recording 25 waiata composed and sung by Wairarapa Māori.

Read more
George Clooney is the driving force behind a new adaptation of Catch-22
105911 2019-05-18 00:00:00Z Television

George Clooney is the driving force behind a new a…

by Fiona Rae

World War II-era Catch-22 swings from drama to comedy as John Yossarian slowly loses his mind.

Read more
How to listen to your body's cues for the optimal time to eat
105454 2019-05-18 00:00:00Z Nutrition

How to listen to your body's cues for the optimal…

by Jennifer Bowden

Your body tells you when it wants food, so you just need to listen.

Read more
Why Te Papa's latest shake-up is raising alarm among experts
105796 2019-05-17 00:00:00Z Social issues

Why Te Papa's latest shake-up is raising alarm amo…

by Sally Blundell

Te Papa’s new nature zone is just one of the big shake-ups at the national museum. Another involves restructuring that some experts warn will...

Read more
MMA fighter Shane Young is on a mission to fight bullying and toxic masculinity
105994 2019-05-17 00:00:00Z Social issues

MMA fighter Shane Young is on a mission to fight b…

by Noted

Napier-born Shane Young is calling out the idea that sharing your emotions is weak.

Read more
The 'Christchurch Call' is just a start. Now we need to push for systemic change
106007 2019-05-17 00:00:00Z Social issues

The 'Christchurch Call' is just a start. Now we ne…

by Kevin Veale

A great deal of evidence suggests that algorithms designed in pursuit of profit are also fuelling radicalisation towards white supremacy.

Read more