New road safety strategy ready
A high level action plan to reduce the region’s roadrelated deaths and serious injury crashes has been approved by the regional transport committee.
Waikato Regional Council has spent the past 12 months consulting with the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and key stakeholders, including councils, on the 2013-16 road safety strategy.
This strategy uses the ‘safe system’ methodology to identify the key focus areas for road safety.
It sets the policy framework and a plan of action to be implemented across the region during the next three years and also defines the work that will need to happen in the medium term to best position the region for the future. The committee heard that a key priority for the region during the next three years would be the development of a regionally consistent ‘one network’ approach to road safety risk assessment and interventions.
This will in turn help with the roll- out of consistent regional speed management programmes, safety infrastructure, road user education and fleet safety programmes.
Committee chairman and Waikato regional councillor Norm Barker said there were many factors responsible for Waikato’s high road toll, such as the physical roading environment, high volumes of traffic, behaviour of road users and the safety of the vehicles.
for addressing these issues lies with a good many of us – politicians, planners, engineers, police, professional drivers and the general public. We all have a role to play,’’ Cr Barker said.
Last year 65 people died on Waikato roads and hundreds more were hospitalised with serious injuries resulting from crashes.
‘‘Two years ago this committee made road safety one of the top three strategic transport priorities for the region. We have a clear vision for safety and have set some tough targets, with an aim to halve our road toll by 2040,’’ he said.
The strategy also has a focus on alcohol and drug impaired driving.
‘‘ The regional
transport committee will continue to lobby central government for a reduced legal blood alcohol limit for all adult drivers and random drug testing by police.
‘‘The introduction of these long overdue measures has the potential to substantially reduce the level of carnage on our roads,’’ Cr Barker said.
The approach aims to create a forgiving road system resulting in a reduction in fatal and serious crashes – one in which human error does not result in a loss of life – and has been instrumental in significantly reducing road trauma in many European countries.
The 2013-16 strategy is due to be adopted by the Waikato Regional Council at its next meeting this month.