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Cross agency partnership reducing road deaths praised

Cross agency partnership reducing road deaths praised

The multi-agency programme seeing a positive trend in road safety was praised today by State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie.

Launched in 2010, the programme called “Safer Journeys” is the government’s road safety strategy to 2020. It is a collaborative initiative of the National Road Safety Committee (NRSC) which core members include the Ministry of Transport, the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA), NZ Police, the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) and Local Government NZ. The Health, Education and Justice Ministries as well as Work Safe NZ are associate members.

In 2013, the Ministry of Transport recorded New Zealand’s lowest number of road deaths in over 60 years. The international measure of deaths per 100,000 population reduced from 8.6 when the multi-agency programme was launched in 2010, to 5.7 at the end of 2013.

“This is a very fine example of collective impact,” said Mr Rennie. “Clearly, when government departments work together, they produce results that otherwise would not have been possible had they been working separately. This is the essence of Better Public Services,” he added.

The programme has four main components based on the international best practice Safe System approach: Safe Speeds, Safe Road Use, Safe Vehicles, and Safe Road and Roadsides.

With a vision of “a safe road system that is increasingly free of death and serious injury,” “Safer Journeys” has initiated several actions to make roads safer including:

· Improving safety for youth and high risk drivers by raising minimum driver age to 16 and adopting a “Zero youth drink drive limit”

· Ensuring safe road use by lowering the blood alcohol concentration limit

· Improving the safety of vehicles and the vehicle fleet in NZ e.g. electronic stability control

· Using automated enforcement technology to enhance enforcement efforts e.g. new red light and safety camera technology

· Improving speed management by lowering of speed enforcement tolerance during holidays

· Providing for safer roads and roadsides by identifying 100 high risk intersections and changing the Give Way rule; and,

· Running campaigns to inform and change public attitudes and perceptions on road safety e.g. “Mistakes” television commercial

Martin Matthews, Secretary for Transport and convenor of the NRSC noted due to the sustained partnership effort and the focus on a Safe System approach New Zealand is moving in the right direction. “There are still improvements to be made because every life matters. If we compare ourselves with other countries, our road fatalities are still much higher than we consider acceptable at 5.7 deaths per 100,000 population, compared to Norway with 3.4 per 100,000 population and Australia at 5.2 per 100,000 population”. Mr Matthews said.

ENDS.

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