Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Lower speed limits linked to increase in road deaths

Lower speed limits linked to increase in road deaths

Speed limits that are impractically low tend to be ignored, leading to an increase in road deaths, according to studies quoted in the Times newspaper in the UK.

English Department for Transport research showed that nearly nine out of ten drivers exceeded the limit in 20mph zones. There was a corresponding increase in deaths and injuries on the slowest roads.

The study, which used automatic traffic counters to measure the speeds of 15.3 million cars, showed that 86% of vehicles exceeded the speed limit on 20mph (32km/h) roads.

Clive Matthew Wilson, editor of the car review website dogandlemon.com, is not surprised by the findings:

American research shows that motorists tend to drive at a speed that feels right. If the speed limit is set unreasonably low, drivers tend to ignore it.”

“Most drivers understand that the roads beside schools and old folk’s homes are dangerous to pedestrians. If the low speed areas are confined to areas of known high risk, motorists tend to obey the law. If the lower speed limits are blindly applied everywhere, drivers tend to ignore the law.”

A 2017 review of 20mph limits published by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) supported lower speed limits in urban areas, but concluded that the lower limits are far more effective when they are accompanied by traffic calming measures:

“...traffic calming slows vehicles down to speeds below the limit, and in this way the zone becomes ‘self-enforcing’. Speed humps, chicanes, road narrowing, planting and other measures can be introduced to both physically and visually reinforce the nature of the road.”

Matthew-Wilson agrees, adding that the best way to protect pedestrians and cyclists is to physically separate them from cars.

“Cars have airbags. Pedestrians and bikes don’t. It’s vital that our city planners keep cars separate from people walking and riding. It’s also important that planners recognise that bikes may pose a threat to pedestrians. “

“Roading engineers tend to see pedestrians as a nuisance, so they position pedestrian crossings in places that don’t fit the needs of people on foot. As a result, pedestrians cross in high risk places and may get hit.”

“Roading engineers also fail to grasp how dangerous our roads can be for people with limited mobility and poor eyesight. Regardless of the speed of the road, pedestrian crossings need to be convenient, they need to give pedestrians ample time to cross and cars must stop entirely while crossings are in use.”

Matthew-Wilson says intelligent road design should be a higher priority than unrealistic speed limits.

“The problem with the whole ‘down with speed’ campaign is that the highest risk motorists tend to ignore speed limits.”

Matthew-Wilson gave the example of a fatal accident in central Auckland on December 22 2017, in which a drunk and speeding motorist ran a red light and killed a taxi driver.

“Since drunk and drugged drivers rarely obey traffic laws, would a lower speed limit have prevented this incident? I doubt it. A restriction on alcohol sales in the area might have helped, but restrictions on alcohol sales rarely get mentioned by road safety planners.”


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

PM's Statement: Deadly Eruption Of Whakaari / White Island

At this stage, we can confirm that amongst those currently listed as missing or injured are New Zealanders who were part of the tour operation, and tourists from Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. That is to the best of our knowledge.

To those who have lost or are missing family and friends, we share in your unfathomable grief at this moment in time, and in your sorrow. Your loved ones stood alongside kiwis who were hosting you here. We grieve with you, and we grieve with them... More>>

Police Update: Plan To Recover Bodies
"I can now confirm that we are finalising a plan to recover the bodies from Whakaari / White Island tomorrow morning. Families will be briefed on the operation at 4.30pm and Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement will speak with media in Whakatane." More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Eruption And Tourism Safety
Adventure tourism is a central theme in New Zealand tourism, and by definition, adventure always includes a certain level of risk. That said, New Zealand itself is also at risk of being seen as a tourism destination where commercial factors – rather than safety factors – are routinely allowed to determine the point where the boundary line of acceptable risk is being drawn. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Welfare Vs Infrastructure Spending

If New Zealand has a pressing need to stimulate its flagging economy, it seems very weird that the government is choosing a $12 billion package of infrastructure spending – mainly on road and rail – that by definition, will take a very long time to deliver their stimulatory benefits ... More>>

New Reports: "Immediate Commitment To Doing Justice Differently"

Justice Minister Andrew Little released two reports today, Turuki! Turuki! from Te Uepū Hāpai I te Ora, and Te Tangi o te Manawanui: Recommendations for Reform from the Chief Victims Advisor. Both recommend a fresh approach to the way criminal justice has been approached... More>>


"Heart-Breaking And Confronting": Surgical Mesh Restorative Justice Report

Minister Genter: “People have talked about losing the life they had enjoyed before surgical mesh harmed them – the loss of a steady job, the ability to exercise, a loving relationship in some cases. Others described the chronic pain they experienced..." More>>


Law Foundation: Government Decryption Powers Must Respect Privacy

The power of government to order users and companies to decrypt encrypted data and devices needs stronger privacy protections and additional safeguards, according to a study published by researchers at the University of Waikato. More>>

Latest 'Discussion Doc': National On Healthcare

National has today released our eighth Discussion Document which focusses on health and outlines a range of policies which will enable more Kiwis to access high-quality healthcare, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says. More>>


Select Committee Report: Combatting Foreign Election Interference

MPs have finally delivered their recommendations to combat foreign interference in elections in a long awaited and much delayed report. More>>

Mosque Attacks: Names Of Arresting Officers Released

Police are now in the position to name the two officers involved in the arrest of the alleged gunman responsible for the attacks on the Al Noor and Linwood Mosques on March 15. More>>

Big, Bold, Permanent Change Needed: Children's Commissioner On 2019 Child Poverty Monitor

“I want to see family incomes dramatically raised by increasing benefits and making the minimum wage a living wage. And the Government needs to move much faster at increasing the supply of social housing..." More>>






InfoPages News Channels