Safer roads sought through unity

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

Col­lab­o­ra­tion and con­sis­tent mes­sag­ing are key in­gre­di­ents of an ini­tia­tive launched be­tween the New Zealand Trans­port Agency and Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil.

The aim of this work is to as­sist the agency, the re­gion’s coun­cils and road safety part­ners to sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce Waikato’s road re­lated fa­tal­i­ties and se­ri­ous in­jury crashes.

The agency and Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil have been dis­cussing how to en­sure ‘‘ Safe Sys­tem’’ think­ing can be fur­ther im­ple­mented through the Re­gional Road Safety Strat­egy, which is be­ing re­viewed.

Small work­shops be­gan in July, in part­ner­ship with each Waikato coun­cil.

Coun­cil road­ing teams, plan­ners and elected mem­bers have been at­tend­ing the work­shops.

Sep­a­rate meet­ings with po­lice, Ac­ci­dent Com­pen­sa­tion Cor­po­ra­tion, dis­trict health boards, the Road Trans­port As­so­ci­a­tion and Na­tional Road Car­ri­ers are also part of the ini­tia­tive.

Safer Jour­neys, New Zealand’s Road Safety Strat­egy 2010– 2020, en­vi­sions a safe road sys­tem in­creas­ingly free of death and se­ri­ous in­jury. It in­cludes the Safe Sys­tem ap­proach, which rep­re­sents a fun­da­men­tal shift in the way we think about road safety.

“A Safe Sys­tem is greater than the sum of its parts,” said New Zealand Trans­port Agency re­gional di­rec­tor ( Waikato/ Bay of Plenty) Harry Wil­son.

“Even slight im­prove- ments across roads, speeds, ve­hi­cles and users will lead to pro­por­tion­ally greater safety out­comes. Work­ing to­gether with our road safety part­ners on ini­tia­tives such as these work­shops, helps en­sure greater road safety for ev­ery­one.”

The Waikato Re­gional Trans­port com­mit­tee noted in its July meet­ing that most ac­tions iden­ti­fied in the Waikato Re­gional Road Safety Strat­egy 2009- 2012 had been met over the past three years.

At the present rate, Waikato is expected to have halved the num­ber of road- re­lated fa­tal­i­ties by 2027 – 13 years ear­lier than noted in the orig­i­nal tar­get.

But the aim to re­duce road- re­lated se­ri­ous in­juries by 25 per cent by 2040 is be­hind tar­get.

Waikato re­gional coun­cil­lor and re­gional trans­port com­mit­tee act­ing chair­woman Paula South­gate said there was hard work ahead to en­sure a col­lec­tive re­sponse to im­prov­ing road safety.

“There is no quick fix to re­duc­ing our road toll and im­prov­ing road safety gen­er­ally in Waikato. This ef­fort will re­quire ev­ery­one’s in­volve­ment – from our stake­hold­ers and all road users – if we are to see some con­tin­ued pos­i­tive change in the

re­gion,” she said.

Safe roads and road­sides that are pre­dictable and for­giv­ing of mis­takes – their de­sign should en­cour­age ap­pro­pri­ate road user be­hav­iour and safe speeds.

Safe speeds that suit the func­tion and level of safety of the road – road users will in­creas­ingly un­der­stand what trav­el­ling at safe speeds means and will- in­gly com­ply speed lim­its.

Safe ve­hi­cles that help pre­vent crashes and pro­tect road users from crash forces that cause death or se­ri­ous in­jury

Safe road use en­sur­ing that road users are skilled and com­pe­tent, alert and unim­paired, and that peo­ple com­ply with road rules, choose safer ve­hi­cles, take steps to im­prove safety and de­mand safety im­prove­ments.

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