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Road toll must come down - Swain

Road toll must come down - Swain

We need to keep the pressure on if we are to continue with the good progress we are making in lowering the road toll Transport Minister Paul Swain told the New Zealand Automobile Association’s Driver Education Conference in Wellington this morning.

“We are making excellent progress in tackling the road toll,” he said. “Last year’s toll of 404 road deaths was the lowest since 1963, despite an almost tripling of our vehicle fleet and a huge increase in the number of kilometres travelled over that period. We have set ourselves the goal of no more than 300 fatalities by the year 2010, with an interim step of no more than 400 fatalities by 2004.

We are on track to achieving our 2010 safety goals, however, we must not ‘rest on our laurels’. For instance this year, the road toll is tracking significantly higher than it was at the same time last year. As of yesterday this year’s road toll stood at 153, compared to 138 at the same point last year. This demonstrates the need to avoid complacency.

“Central to our efforts at lowering the road toll further is the Road Safety Strategy to 2010. Last September we announced a $22 million package of road safety initiatives as part of the first steps in the Road Safety Strategy to 2010. The initiatives in the package focussed on the three key areas we have identified in the strategy - engineering, education and enforcement.

“It is important that we consider new initiatives that can assist us in achieving our road safety goal. For example we are considering measures aimed at recidivist drunk drivers, such as the use of alcohol interlocks on vehicles, expanding the use of vehicle impoundment and other sanctions aimed at repeat offenders.

“A range of initiatives are currently being considered by the LTSA at my request. I hope to go to Melbourne next month to take a first-hand look at what the state of Victoria is doing in this area,” said Mr Swain.

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