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"Road Safety to 2010" released

"Road Safety to 2010" released

The direction for policies to make our roads safer has been spelled out in Road Safety to 2010, released today by the Transport Minister Paul Swain.

Consultation began in late 2000, and the document released today is a response to community calls for safer roads through a mix of the 'Three Es' â?" engineering, education, and enforcement.

"It is a highly useful document, spelling out what is happening now in the area of road safety, and the kind of measures needed to make progress," says Mr Swain.

Road Safety to 2010 illustrates how direct interventions in the past have had a major impact on the road toll.

Without measures such as compulsory breath testing, speed cameras, hard-hitting ad campaigns, targeting of black spots on roads, vehicle impoundment, and the Highway Patrol, it is estimated our death rate on the roads would be around 900 per year.

In 2002 the road toll was 404 â?" the lowest in almost 40 years.

"Every one of those deaths was a terrible family tragedy," says Mr Swain.

"The 2002 road toll appears to now represent something of a plateau, and already this year the road toll is tracking almost 50 deaths higher than it was at same time in 2002."

"Last year we took the first steps to reduce the road toll, by setting a goal of no more than 300 fatalities and 4,500 hospitalisations by 2010."

Road safety agencies now agree further measures are needed to drive the toll back down. The new measures will reflect the three Es strategy of engineering, education and enforcement.

"I will be making announcements later this week on some engineering measures that will have a direct impact on road safety," says Mr Swain.

"Education announcements will be made in November, and the government will consider some new enforcement measures in December â?" with speed and repeat drink drivers a particular focus."

Road Safety to 2010 was developed by the National Road Safety Committee (NRSC), made up of the chief executives of the ACC, LTSA, Local Government NZ, Ministry of Transport, Police, Transfund, and Transit.

In line with the Three Es of road safety, the strategy identifies eight key action areas: -

Engineering safer roads

New and better targeted education initiatives

Dealing with serious offenders

Combating drink driving

Reducing speed

Encouraging the use of safety belts

Improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists

Improving the vehicle fleet

More information about the strategy can be found at

Road Safety to 2010 - Questions and Answers

What is the Road Safety to 2010 strategy?

The Road Safety to 2010 strategy provides the direction for road safety in New Zealand to the year 2010.

It sets goals to reduce deaths and hospitalisations by 2010 and draws together the Government's overarching approach to meeting the goals.

The release of the Road Safety to 2010 strategy is not the beginning or the end of the Government's approach to road safety. The strategy builds on what has worked already and sets out ongoing and increased efforts for the future.

Last year government introduced the first steps of the strategy - a range of new initiatives and extra funding for education, engineering and enforcement. Work is currently underway on the implementation of the strategy's next set of measures.

How has it been developed?

The final Road Safety to 2010 strategy has been through considerable consultation and policy development processes.

A consultation document was released in late 2000. The response from the community was predominantly a call for increased road safety through a mix of engineering, education and enforcement.

The National Road Safety Committee analysed the consultation responses and has developed policies using a strongly analytical and evidence based approach. It has made recommendations to government and is already implementing new engineering, education and enforcement measures as part of the strategy's first steps.

The National Road Safety Committee is made up of the Chief Executives of the Accident Compensation Corporation, Land Transport Safety Authority, Local Government New Zealand, Ministry of Transport, Police, Transit New Zealand and Transfund New Zealand.

Why is the strategy needed?

In recent years we've made incredible progress to get the road toll down, but we've still got a fair way to go - particularly to catch up to other countries.

In 2002 New Zealand had a fatality rate of 1.5 deaths per 10,000 vehicles. That compares with a rate of 1.2 deaths per 10,000 vehicles in the United Kingdom and a rate of 1.4 deaths per 10,000 vehicles in Australia in 2001.

New Zealand has set ambitious goals to meet by 2010. We want our roads to be among the world's safest.

We want to get the road toll down to no more than 300 deaths and fewer than 4,500 hospitalisations per year by 2010.

Last year 404 people died on New Zealand roads and another 6,670 were hospitalised from crashes.

In the first nine months of this year alone nearly 350 people died on our roads, compared to just over 300 for the same period last year. This tells us that we need to do more if we are to meet the goals we have set for 2010.

What does the strategy hope to achieve?

The Road Safety to 2010 strategy provides the strategic direction for significantly reducing deaths and injuries on our roads.

The strategy is held together by three key areas of action, the Three Es - engineering, education, and enforcement.

It recognises that we cannot rely on action in only one area to make a difference.

We must use the power of education to improve behaviour, and in turn, attitudes. We must make the roads themselves safer, and we must give police the tools they need to target dangerous driving behaviour like speeding and drink driving.

What are the key features of the strategy?

In line with the Three Es of road safety, there are eight key action areas:

Engineering safer roads

New and better targeted education initiatives

Dealing with serious offenders

Combating drink driving

Reducing speed

Encouraging the use of safety belts

Improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists

Improving the vehicle fleet

Work will also continue in other areas such as heavy vehicle safety, trauma management, safety for motorcyclists and investigating measures against driving under the influence of illegal drugs.

What has been done already?

Highlights from the past decade include:

Roading improvements at over 2000 accident black spots - resulting in a 50% drop in fatal crashes in those sites

Major state highway works including construction, four laning and passing lanes

The fitting of median barriers on all motorways with over 20,000 vehicles a day

A skid resistance programme

Spending 25% of the overall state highway budget on safety

Introduction of compulsory breath testing - which in combination with other measures - has seen an estimated 57% cut in fatal drink-driving crashes since 1992

Hard hitting advertising campaigns - independent analysis estimates that in combination with other measures 300 lives have been saved as a result of the campaigns

Roadside vehicle impoundment for disqualified and unlicensed drivers

Establishment of the highly visible Police Highway Patrol - an additional 183 patrol cars and 225 staff on the roads

Improvements in vehicle safety standards, including the requirement for all passenger cars to meet approved frontal impact standards

What new measures are being introduced as part of Road Safety to 2010?

Road Safety to 2010 is a living strategy. Several new activities and pilot schemes are already being implemented - including the first steps in the 2010 strategy announced in September 2002. Another package of initiatives for the second stage of the strategy is under development.

Activities which form part of the strategy include:

A programme encouraging road controlling authorities to adopt Safety Management Systems, which entails taking responsibility for the safety management of their local roading networks

The development of innovative engineering solutions focusing on relatively low cost strategic safety improvements on the state highway network, including the use of median cable barriers and clearing roadside hazards

Giving road controlling authorities and their engineering consultants desktop access to the LTSA's Crash Analysis System in an effort to better target resources for road improvements

The development and implementation of a safety framework for walking and cycling

Piloting community based safety improvements to the road environment for pedestrians and cyclists

The development of a heavy vehicle safety strategy

The development of a revised Community Road Safety Strategy

Increased coverage of the Roadsense AtaHaere primary school education programme from 650 schools in 2003 to 1000 in 2004

More resources for police to target rural drink driving, Auckland motorways and heavy vehicle safety

Two novice driver education trials - one testing potential changes to the graduated driver licensing system for novice drivers and the other encouraging young drivers to accumulate a minimum number of supervised driving hours

Leasing and delivery of more booze buses, police vehicles, lasers and radars and the appointment of additional strategic capability staff in the Police

New advertising campaigns targeting failure to give way and the wearing of safety belts

The implementation of community based projects targeting motorcycle safety and supported by publicity

A review of New Zealand's system of administrative penalties (those that don't involve the court system) for road safety offences, including repeat offences

More information on projects put in place by the National Road Safety Committee can be found on

Will there be improvements to our roads?

Yes. Our road network is not as safe or forgiving as those of many other countries. If a driver makes a mistake here there's a higher chance that the mistake will mean someone is injured or killed.

I will be making an announcement about engineering initiatives to make our roads safer on Thursday 16 October.

Will there be more education programmes?

Yes. Education is vital to achieving our goals for 2010.

We've got programmes underway to get young people and older New Zealanders driving safely.

For example there's the competency based training and assessment pilot - a trial of a different approach to driver licensing. At present, the only way to progress from one licensing stage to the next is by passing a practical driving test after holding the licence for a minimum period. The trial enables drivers who have completed specified courses with specially approved driving instructors to apply for exemption from sitting the test and to have the minimum period for holding a learner or restricted licence reduced.

There's also "Practice" - a driving programme for teenagers. The trial programme encourages young drivers who have recently passed their learner licence test to undertake at least two hours of supervised driving per week - with an ultimate goal of 120 hours of supervised driving practice.

The National Road Safety Committee is currently working on education initiatives to reach other New Zealanders who may have had their driver licence for years and not had any refresher courses or other education.

There will be further announcements on this in November.

Will there be any changes to enforcement measures?

Along with education and engineering, the Road Safety to 2010 strategy relies on effective enforcement for its success.

There is still a lot of concern in New Zealand about the devastating impact of drink-driving and speed on our road safety - and it's justified.

Alcohol and speed are still the two biggest contributing factors to death and injury in road crashes - they contributed to 40% of fatal crashes last year.

The National Road Safety Committee is assessing which new and enhanced enforcement measures will be needed to meet our road safety goals.

Cabinet will consider enforcement options in December.

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