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AA sees plenty of potential in new road safety strategy

19 December 2019

Greater investment in road safety is one of the most critical elements in the Government’s new Road To Zero 10-year strategy for the next decade, says the AA.

The final version of the strategy was released today along with a plan of 15 actions that will take place in its first three years.

“The new road safety strategy sets an ambitious goal of reducing deaths and injuries from crashes by 40% over the next decade,” says AA Policy Manager Simon Douglas.

“There is no doubt that New Zealand can do much better in terms of road safety but it will take a lot of work across many areas to make it a reality, so the AA is pleased to see the Government committing to increasing the investment into road safety.”

The AA sees maintaining roads to a good standard, adding safety measures like barriers and rumble-strip to existing roads, and building new, safer highways as essential parts of reducing the harm from road crashes and will be looking for the new strategy to deliver more of this work.

“New Zealand’s population has grown rapidly over the last decade and the strategy recognises that we need better roads and transport infrastructure. The AA will be looking to see this delivered with more funding in future transport budgets,” says Simon.

“Sweden is one of the world’s road safety leaders and one of the key things they have done to reduce road deaths is greatly increase their number of divided highways. Sweden now has more than 5000km of divided highways while this strategy is aiming to add 1000km in New Zealand.”

Other actions in the new strategy that the AA supports are:

• Ensuring safety ratings for vehicles are displayed when they are being sold
• Increasing the presence of police on the roads and lifting the amount of alcohol testing back to previous levels
• A particular focus on cellphone as part of a review of penalties for driving offences
• Work to improve the quality of emergency response and medical care following a crash
• The introduction of roadside drug testing
• A focus on helping more people gain a drivers licence

“Ahead of the last election there were promises of driver training for all secondary school students and the strategy says there will be announcements in 2020 about increasing access to driver training and licensing,” says Simon.

“The AA sees this as an area with a lot of potential, so we hope to see some significant actions taken to help boost young people’s ability to learn to drive safely and reap the benefits that having a licence delivers.”

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