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Councils given power to change speed limits

Councils given power to change speed limits

Councils and Transit New Zealand will be able to change speed limits in their areas under a new rule signed by Transport Minister Paul Swain.

Under the Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits 2003 councils will be able to set 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, and 100 km/h speed limits on stretches of road. Transit NZ will be able to change speed limits on the state highway network. However the rule does not allow any increase to the existing maximum limit of 100 km/h on rural roads and motorways.

“The changes have come in response to approaches from local authorities, who have sought more control over setting speed limits on their roads,” said Mr Swain. “The current system is complicated, with central and local government having dual control, but divided responsibilities.

“Among their new powers, councils will be able to reduce the speed limit past schools if they believe the existing conditions are unsafe, by making a variable speed limit bylaw. This would require drivers to reduce their speed outside a school during the peak arrival and leaving times of school children. Any minimum or variable speed limit will have to be approved by the LTSA,” said Mr Swain.

The rule does not change the policy and method for calculating speed limits – this remains the LTSA’s responsibility. Nor does it affect the enforcement and fines imposed on road users who break speed limits.

“All councils will be responsible for reviewing and setting speed limits and for installing accompanying signs,” said Mr Swain. “They will be required to consult with community groups and road users who are likely to be affected by proposed changes.”

“The rule will be fully implemented in about a year giving councils a reasonable lead-in time to prepare for the rule change,” said Mr Swain.

For further information visit the LTSA website at www.ltsa.govt.nz, or contact the LTSA Help Desk on 0800 699 000. Copies of the rule can be accessed on the internet at www.status.co.nz/ltsa.html or from a bookshop which sells government publications.

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