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Safer Roads At Risk As Govt Spending Cuts Force Waka Kotahi To Downgrade Car Crash Analysis

Government spending cuts have forced Waka Kotahi to propose more than halving the team providing data critical to the analysis of vehicle crashes to make our roads safer.

The team managing the Crash Analysis System is proposed to reduce from 12 full time positions to five, after Waka Kotahi was forced by the Government to cut 7.5% from its spending.

"It doesn’t make sense to downgrade this important area of activity at a time when too many people are still losing their lives on our roads," said Fleur Fitzsimons, Assistant Secretary for Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi.

"The Government promised evidence-based policy. This team is doing exactly that, providing the hard evidence on how to prevent more lives being lost.

"The Government is obsessed with building more highways and allowing higher speeds so you would have thought investing more in this important team would have been logical."

According to Waka Kotahi the Crash Analysis System is ‘New Zealand’s primary tool for capturing information on where, when and how road crashes occur…This information helps inform transport policy, design and prioritise road safety improvements and monitor their effectiveness. CAS enables the transport sector over the long term, to improve road safety.’

Waka Kotahi is proposing to scale back the collection and processing of crash data, including data on non-injury crashes.

"Understanding the patterns that lead to accidents can help Waka Kotahi make road safety improvements to help prevent more serious crashes that cause injury and death, so this is critical work," said Fitzsimons.

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"Investment up-front to prevent serious injuries and deaths from happening is a far smarter use of resources than being the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.

"Crash data is also important for many other organisations including Police, the Automobile Association, consultants and roading contractors as well as local councils which use it to help them make good decisions on roading projects.

"Like all cuts across the public service, this again shows the rushed and reckless nature of the Government’s spending cuts. It is making a choice to fund tax cuts for landlords and higher income earners, over properly resourcing public services which support communities and save lives."

© Scoop Media

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