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Cut speed limits - but spend on roads and educ'n

PRESS RELEASE

21 October 2005

Cut speed limits - but spending on roads and education needed too says Rural Women New Zealand

Rural Women New Zealand welcomes Land Transport New Zealand plans to cut the speed limit on 40 dangerous stretches of rural roads in an effort to reduce the road toll. But it is also calling for more funding to be spent on improving roads and driver education.

This week Federated Farmers said reducing speeds on some rural roads was a band aid measure that covers a long-term lack of adequate spending on roading in New Zealand.

“If roads are unsafe, they should be fixed,” agrees Rural Women New Zealand President Sherrill Dackers. But gradients, road widths and curves also need to be considered when setting appropriate speed limits, and in some cases that will be less than 100kph.

“A lower speed limit will forewarn motorists who are driving too fast for the conditions,” says Mrs Dackers.

There has been a steady increase in traffic volumes in many rural areas, particularly adjacent to towns as lifestyle blocks flourish. Tourist traffic also contributes to the increase.

Driver education is a key issue, says Mrs Dackers.

“Roads are often not the problem - it’s the poor driving attitudes. Drinking, fast cars and showing off are part of the New Zealand driving culture, with alcohol still a major factor in rural road deaths.

“We need real leadership both at national and local level - the Country People Die on Country Roads advertisements were a great start and similar education campaigns need to be kept up.”

Rural Women New Zealand says local people with local knowledge should be part of the consultation process when setting lower speed limits.

ENDS

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