Speed limit cuts criticised
THE GOVERNMENT’S FOCUS ON reducing speed limits to cut the road toll will do more harm than good, Road Transport Forum chief executive Nick Leggett believes.
“The Government continues to lower speed limits around the country in a piecemeal fashion, with no consideration of the big picture for those who move freight from one end of New Zealand to the other,” says Leggett.
The speed limit cuts are, he says, “driven by the ideological imperative of taking cars and trucks off the road, to make way for cyclists and pedestrians…”
And adds: “Seldom does this decisionmaking consider economic impacts.”
Leggett reckons that a lot of Government research “focuses not on the cause of the accident, but why there was an impact severe enough to result in death.
“If you look at it that way, the law of physics suggests any speed of a moving vehicle will be a problem.
“We appreciate that, in some cases, lowering speed limits might well have an impact in reducing the road toll. But time and time again – in our submissions and meetings with those who have already decided to lower the speed limits before they go out for consultation – we hit a brick wall when we talk about driver behaviour being the cause of death and injury on the roads: That’s drugs, alcohol, distraction and ability. “Commercial road users, who pay for their road use, feel the pain of reduced speeds on their bottom line. Time costs money. Slowing down freight on New Zealand roads costs everyone.”
And in this post-COVID-19 period, “to survive, NZ is going to have to be able to move exports and imports as quickly and costeffectively as possible. That will be by road – 93% of the total tonnes of freight moved in NZ goes by road.”