Speed limit cuts crit­i­cised

New Zealand Truck & Driver - - Front Page -

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.”


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