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Insurance Council Welcomes Road Safety Strategy

Insurance Council Welcomes Road Safety Strategy 2010

The insurance industry believes a road safety discussion document released today is enormously important to all New Zealanders and deserves significant input from a wide range of interests.

The Insurance Council says the initiative goes right to the heart of New Zealand and involves much more than just reducing the high rate of carnage on our roads.

"The 510 road deaths and 6000 hospitalisations are just the visible disaster on our roads. Add to that the rehabilitation costs to both lives and the economy, the anguish and grief of families and victims and the cost to ordinary Kiwi's from this battlefield".

"It is an enormously important discussion which all New Zealanders should take a view on," said Chris Ryan, Chief Executive of the Insurance Council.

"From a purely insurance-related perspective, New Zealanders claim nearly half a billion dollars from insurance companies a year for motor policies. This does not even come near the total cost to the country in terms of other financial losses. Most important however is the human cost", he said.

A key component of the strategy is the need for education of drivers in New Zealand. Insurance Council members believe that an estimated 20% of drivers are not insured and this is too high. That figure reflects the equally high rates of drivers who are unlicensed, drive unregistered vehicles, and who don't comply with many of the road safety requirements.

Insurance Council members will be making submissions on the document and will strongly support a wide range of views. Clearly the objective of the strategy is to bring down the road fatality rate in New Zealand, which at 14.4 deaths per 100,000 is too high.

However, the Insurance Council adds that the vast majority of New Zealand drivers do drive safely and responsibly in well-maintained vehicles. The vast majority of drivers do not habitually break the speed limit or the law, and this needs to be considered within the development of the strategy.

While noting the current strategy remains in place the Insurance Council welcomes the strategy discussion document and supports the consultative process surrounding it.

ENDS

For further information, please contact:
Christopher Ryan, Chief Executive
Tel (04) 472 5230; Mobile, (025) 441 767

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