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70kp/h speed limit proposal "unworkable"

70kp/h speed limit proposal "unworkable" says safety campaigner

A proposal to lower the open road speed limit to 70kp/h on stretches without median barriers is "ridiculous and unworkable’, says the car review website dogandlemon.com.

A new report by the inter-governmental organisation International Transport Forum, recommends that rural roads without median barriers should have their speed limits lowered to 70km/h.

Dogandlemon.com editor Editor Matthew-Wilson, who is an outspoken road safety campaigner, says:

"This is a knee-jerk reaction to a rising road toll and doesn't really address the major issues. Think about it: only a tiny percentage of New Zealand roads have median barriers, even on state highways. Imposing a 70kp/h slow speed limit on long, straight roads would be met with open rebellion."

Matthew-Wilson cautiously supports the lowering of the speed limit on the most dangerous roads, but says 70kp/h, is probably too slow.

"New Zealand's rural roads are often narrow, winding and poorly designed. On the most dangerous roads, where there are no safety measures in place, it makes sense to reduce the speed limit to 80kp/h."

However, Matthew-Wilson says lowering the speed will have only a limited effect.

"About 80% of the road toll occurs below, not above, the speed limit. Of the 20% of accidents that occur above the speed limit, most are caused by either yobbos, impaired drivers or outlaw motorcyclists. All these groups tend to ignore speed limits anyway."

Matthew-Wilson points out that rural drivers on secondary roads also tend to set their own speed limits.

"Lowering the speed limit may slow down tourists in a camper van, but will have little effect on the driving of most locals, who will simply ignore the new speed limits."

"The government needs to get over the idea that average drivers and average speeds are the problem. The vast majority of accidents are caused by a tiny group of road users. Arbitrarily lowering the speed limit is unlikely to have any effect whatsoever on this high risk group."

"If the speed limit is lowered on the worst roads, as an interim measure before median barriers are installed, I support it. If this proposal is simply an excuse to impose unrealistic speed limits across the country, I oppose it.

As things stand, I believe this proposal will cause as many problems as it solves, without having much effect on the road toll."

ends


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